Picture of a top management consultant

Does an external view of processes add value? 

Why does that happen? 

Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winning physicist is famous for having been a great teacher – if anybody was able to explain why something happens – especially really complex things, then he is the man to whom you should talk. The BBC Horizon programme interviewer asks him here on YouTube why magnets repel each other. 
Feynman tells the interviewer that he has to understand “just how difficult a ‘why question’ is…“. When you ask, “Why something happens?” we have to know what is understood already, what do we already accept to be true? “An answer that would satisfy you would not necessarily satisfy a person from another planet.” The follow up questions can take you deeper and deeper into the subject and these deeper levels are often the most interesting. As we look deeper it gets simpler not more complicated, but we often confuse familiarity with simplicity. 
“An answer that would satisfy you, would not necessarily satisfy a person from another planet.” 

An example of an external view of a major printer 

We have found these same principles apply with the work we do. For example Implement was invited to work with a major printer, printing top weekly magazine titles to tight deadlines. The presses had received a lot of attention from both management and printing specialists. They had examined and improved – make-ready times, running speeds, web breaks and crew sizes. This attention was wholly justified with presses costing tens of millions of pounds; the business believed “it was as lean as it could be”. 
Implement noticed that the majority of the staff in operations really got involved after the ink was on the paper in the Finishing Department where the printed-paper is trimmed, stitched, and combined with promotional leaflets. To ensure that the titles are dispatched by the deadline many of the jobs where being finished on multiple lines, which requires additional resource in both labour and printed copy to allow for the increased ‘make-readys’. This department has to have enough people to enable it to handle any last minute changes to the plan – and there are many. 
Realising that more calendar time in finishing would have a dramatic effect on labour and material efficiencies, Implement started asking people why the plans were so tight: 
“That’s the nature of this business – there are always delays in getting data from the customer, they want to wait until the very last minute. If you add to that any mechanical breakdowns and unexpected changes on the jobs, then we are always running up against the deadlines. However – we never fail to meet that deadline”. 
Going deeper into this time issue, asking more questions it became clear that calendar time was being spent in queuing and waiting. A concentration on utilisation of key assets and local productivity measures meant that velocity of jobs through the entire factory was secondary. People close to these issues, who have been working for many years in this pressured environment across a number of different sites, agreed that this was probably an issue worth looking at but said “I think that when you’ve worked through all the practical constraints, taking account of all the things that must happen at a given time, you will end up with only about 20 minutes to spare when we get to Finishing. That won’t make any difference at all”. 
You tube video of Richard Feynman interview 
Planets - looking from the outside
We have experience in all sectors and functional areas 
of business. We have been lucky to work with some of the most talented leaders and managers in the UK. Some of their experience along with ours has helped develop these articles. 
Our focus is typically in operational areas of business and our successes include: 
Cycle Time Reduction 
Cost Reduction 
Rework Reduction 
Error and Checking Elimination 
Throughput Improvement 
Productivity Enhancement 
Improved Client Communications 
However these cannot be successfully delivered without the strategic, behavioural and cultural elements present in all organisations. 
Please call us on 020 7739 6565 to discuss how we can help you or click here to complete a contact form. 

Can we increase performance and profits? 

So was it worth looking at? Quite simply, yes. It turns out that we can arrange to get most titles to Finishing more than 12 hours earlier than was previously happening. Knowing the manning requirements a full shift ahead is a great leap forward. 
Sometimes, acting as if you come from a different planet, asking dumb looking questions can reveal surprising opportunities. Can you imagine now, areas of your business, where walking around with a new set of eyes asking dumb sounding questions might turn up exciting opportunities for improvement? 
Implement is not from another planet (mostly) but we may be able to help you identify opportunities you suspect are there. If we can’t then it will cost you nothing with our Unique Implement Guarantee and you may have a lot to gain. We are always curious about how to make things better, faster and cheaper, aren’t you? 
You can talk to Implement on 0207 739 6565 or email us at william@implementconsultancy.com 
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