Do your team maximise their preparation activities?

We all know that preparation is key to high performance. Trying to prepare when you should be carrying out your task, often leads to rushing and mistakes being made.

In this email, I want to give you a couple of scenarios, to see if it sparks any thoughts about your organisation. Ideally, you’ll find some ideas to help you have a smoother ride whilst you deliver your products and services on time.

The usual case

So, let me start with what normally happens. Preparation (orange bar) is carried out at the start of the task (green bar), often when you’re already ‘up against it’:

Offsetting preparation

Staggering activities, so that the preparation starts prior to the time of the main activity is a good option to consider. This is like the relay race team; they don’t wait until they receive the baton before they start running. It can shorten the overall lead time and reduce mistakes.

Front loading preparation

Another option is front loading the preparation. When the order is received by the business, this can be used as a trigger for the preparatory tasks. This is also a great strategy to make the main delivery activities calmer. As you can see, you are still using the same amount of time, just distributed differently. If you use an approach like this, you can often find opportunities to streamline the preparatory tasks as you aren’t under pressure when carrying them out.

Using a routine

A hybrid option is to trigger the preparatory tasks for a time before the main task but neither at the start or immediately before. This works well with a routine cycle; allowing you to batch the preparation.

Reflect on your business operations. Which activities would benefit from better preparation? Which one of the three approaches I have shared in this message would work best for you?

See what ideas come to you and take action this week.

Digitise your workflows

If you want a free option to capture your routine preparation activities, then check out PDCA Complete. Our digital workflows tool allows you to create a digital replica of your business processes key, repeatable, activities.

You can claim your free account here.

Giles Johnston

Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who consults with businesses to improve their on time delivery performance, ERP system performance and deploy Kaizen / Lean production methods. Giles is also the author of 'What Does Good Look Like?'.