At the beginning of this year I had a meeting with one of my clients, let’s call him George, who needed a productivity increase (a rather considerable one), that must have been achieved in 3 months.
After a 30 minute visit to the plant, I told him that the target productivity can be achieved in 3 months.
3 months later, the productivity target was (obviously) achieved. George asked me:
“I was surprised when you accepted the challenge, but given the proposed conditions (the client pays only if the target was achieved – a win-win strategy) I had nothing to say. But please tell me how did you know, after only a 30-minute visit to the plant, that we could achieve such a productivity target?”
I answered that I saw the following signs of low performance:
- The people were working hard;
- On the production lines there was a big amount of WIP;
- The work was done in batches;
- The people were walking through the shop-floor (they are looking for something that was missing);
- The performance was not measured on a daily basis.
These are some of the signs of a low performance that helped me to know that this ambitious productivity target could be reached in 3 months or less.
Moreover, in the first days of consulting George, I realized that the management team was open to suggestions and improvements, which is a great advantage.
The above-mentioned signs (with different levels of intensity) are visible in any company and they show that performance can be indeed improved.You just have to see them.
What’s more, the performance can be continually improved! There is no upper limit! If the achieved performance level is “comfortable” you must raise some question marks regarding the future of the company.