Focusing Process Improvement


Few customers like to have to wait because your system is obviously not functioning effectively or a breakdown has occurred. Rightfully so, they view their time as valuable. It is unfair to expect them to patiently wait,. Such defects should be handled when the customer is not present. Service to the customer should be seamless. They should get great service and never have to worry about your problems or breakdowns in your process. When breakdowns do occur, they should be fixed quickly and the customer relationship smoothed over. Additionally, it is important that customers will react differently in different situations.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Price Differentiation


A common response during slow demand is to discount the price of the service. This strategy relies on basic economics of supply and demand. To be effective, however, a price differentiation strategy depends on solid understanding of customer price sensitivity and demand curves.

Heave use of price differentiation to smooth demand can be a risky strategy. Over –reliance on price can result in price wars in any industry where eventually all competitors suffer. Price wars are well known in the airline industry, where total industry profits suffered as a result of airlines simultaneously trying to attract customers through price discounting.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Overproduction


Overproduction is regarded as the most serious waste as it discourages a smooth flow of goods or services and is likely to  inhibit  quality and productivity. Such overproduction also tends to lead to excessive lead and storage times. As a result defects may not be detected early, products may deteriorate and artificial pressures on work rate may be generated. In addition, overproduction leads to excessive work-in-progress stocks which result in the  physical dislocation of operations with consequent poorer communication. This state of affairs is often encouraged by bonus systems that encourage the push of unwanted goods. The pull or Kanban system was employed by Toyota as a way of overcoming this problem.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

The Transformation Process


At the heart of operations management is the transformation process through which inputs (resources such as labor, money, materials, and energy) are converted into outputs (goods, services, and ideas). The transformation process combines inputs in predetermined ways using different equipment, administrative procedures, and technology to create a product. To ensure that this process generates quality products efficiently, operations managers control the process by taking measurements (feedback) at various points in the transformation process and comparing them to previously established standards. If there is any deviation between the actual and desired outputs, the manager may take some sort of corrective action.

Transformation may take place through one or more processes. In a business that manufactures oak furniture, for example, inputs pass through several processes before being turned into the final outputs—furniture that has been designed to meet the desires of customers. The furniture maker must first strip the oak trees of their bark and saw them into appropriate sizes—one step in the transformation process. Next, the firm dries the strips of oak lumber, a second form of transformation. Third, the dried wood is routed into its appropriate shape and made smooth. Fourth, workers, assemble and treat the wood pieces, then stain or varnish the piece of assembled furniture. Finally, the completed piece of furniture is stored until it can be shipped to customers at the appropriate time.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Preparing for Implementation


The best participation for smooth and effective implementation is through work on the first phases of the change effort together with extensive communication among all participants about the intent and the direction of the change effort. Assuring that all participants know the expectations and parameters of the change episode enhances clarity and control. Concrete and specific objectives, planned design and structure, and resource commitments provide the basic blueprint for implementation.

Also helpful in preparing for implementation is attention to two facts of the context: change residue and overlap between planning and implementing systems. The change agent will find analysis of residue help in anticipating possible obstacles to the transition from planning to operation. Assessment of overlap—or the absence of it—will contribute to understanding communication needs.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

The Manager


The manager describes what a person does rather than what a person knows. A manager makes sure an organization operates smoothly and efficiently. Upper-level managers, known as executives, address longer-range concerns. They foresee problems years ahead by considering questions such as the following:

  1. Is current technology at the company becoming obsolete?
  2. How expensive are the newest technologies?
  3. How much would they disrupt operations if they were adopted?
  4. What other plans would have to be postponed or dropped altogether?
  5. When would the new technologies start to pay for themselves?
  6. What has been the experience of other companies that have adopted these new technologies?

Executives are concerned with these and dozens of other broad questions that go beyond day-to-day managerial concerns.

Managers want to know the bottom line. They have to get a job done on schedule they don’t have time to consider theory in the way an expert does. Rather, managers must judge constraints—financial, personnel, time, and informational—and make logical and reasonable decisions quickly. And they have to communicate with their own supervisors.

In writing to a manager, try to determine his or her technical background and then choose an appropriate vocabulary and sentence length. Focus on practical information. If you think that your reader will take your information and use it in a document addressed to executives, make your reader’s job easier. Include an executive summary and use frequent headings to highlight your major points. Ask your reader if there is an organizational pattern or format, or a strategy for writing the document that will help him or her use your document as source material.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Focusing on Customers


Without customers you have no sales, no income, no profit, no business—and soon no organization. Unfortunately, when you meet other managers they often seem to forget this, and talk about profits, productivity, return on investment, data ratios and personnel problems. Sometimes customers are clearly an irritant, getting in the way of smooth operations, asking awkward questions and making unreasonable demands.

The purpose of your organization is to supply a product that satisfies customer demand. This should be the focus of the whole organization. To sustain competitive advantage requires a total commitment to your customer. If it is good for your customers, do it! The dollars will follow.

This consideration on customers involves:

  • Finding out exactly what customers want;
  • Designing products to meet these demands;
  • Doing research and development so that your product range responds to changing demands;
  • Aiming for complete customer satisfaction;
  • Getting a reputation for outstanding quality and value;
  • Doing after-sales checks to make sure that customers remain satisfied;
  • Looking outwards so that you are always in touch with customers, potential customers, competitors, alternative products, etc.
  • Allowing customers easy access to your organization and making them welcome;
  • Discussing customer service widely, so that everyone knows your aims, and shares thoughts on customer satisfaction.

Some say that you should go further than merely satisfying customers, and should exceed their expectations – delighting or crossing them. Whatever you call it, you depend on satisfied customers coming back with repeat business. It typically costs five times as much to attract a new customer as it does to retain an existing one – and someone who gets good service will recommend you to four or five other people, while someone who gets poor service will warn a dozen potential customers to go somewhere else.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Planning a Research Strategy


If you plan your research strategy carefully, the whole project will flow smoothly. Follow these steps:

1. Work out a schedule and budget for the project that requires the research. When is the deliverable—the document or the presentation—due? Do you have a budget for phone calls, database, or travel to libraries or other sites?

2. Visualize the deliverable. What kind of document will you need to deliver: a proposal, a report, a Website? What kind of oral presentation will you need to deliver?

3. Determine what information will need to be part of that deliverable. Draft an outline of the contents, focusing on the kinds of information that readers will expect to see in each part. For instance, if you are going to make a presentation to your supervisors about the use of e-mail in your company, your audience will expect specific information about the number of e-mails written and received by company employees, as well as the amount of time employees spend reading and writing it.

4. Determine what information you still need to acquire. Make a list of the pieces of information you don’t have. For instance, for the e-mail presentation, you might realize that you have anecdotal information about employee use of e-mail, but you don’t have any specifics.

5. Create questions you need to answer. Make a list of questions, such as the following:

    1. How many e-mails are written each day in our company?
    2. How many people receive each mail?
    3. How much server space is devoted to e-mails?
    4. How much time do people in each department spend writing and reading e-mail?

Writing the questions in a list forces you to think carefully about your topic. One question suggests another, and soon you have a lengthy list that you need to answer.

6. Conduct secondary research. For the e-mail presentation, you want to find out about e-mail usage in organizations similar to yours and what policies these organizations are implementing. You can find this information in journal articles and from Web-based sources, such as online journals, discussion groups, and bulletin boards.

7. Conduct primary research. You can answer some of your questions by consulting company records, by interviewing experts (such as the people in the Information Technology department in your company), and by conducting surveys and interviews of representative employees.

8. Evaluate your information. Once you have your information, you need to evaluate its quality: is it accurate, comprehensive, unbiased, and current?

9. Do more research. If the information you have acquired doesn’t sufficiently answer your questions, do more research. And, if you have thought of additional questions that need to be answered, do more research. When do you stop doing research? You will stop only when you think you have enough high-quality information to create the deliverable. For this reason, you will need to establish and stick to a schedule that will allow for multiple phases of research.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Quantity Discounts from Supplier


Quantity discounts are very common for goods of all types, whether retail, wholesale, or industrial. Although there are many different types of quality discount procedures employed, there are two that are the most important: all-units and incremental. In both cases there are one or more quantity break-points, defining changes in the unit cost. The all-units case simply applies the discount effective in an interval to all units of the order; the incremental method applies the discount only to the units past the breakpoint. In either case, we wish to minimize an average cost function which is smooth on an individual interval but changes for the next interval. Thus, we may simply minimize costs on each interval, and choose the minimum of these. In turn, on each segment, the minimum occurs.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, Line of Sight

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