How has your OTIF (On Time In Full) performance been during this year?

Hopefully it has been either on the rise, or you have maintained a consistently high level. If it hasn’t been as good as you would have liked, you have a great opportunity to tackle 2024 refreshed with some new ideas; let me share one with you.

The improvement themes approach

A really good continuous improvement approach, to help your teams, is to give them continuous improvement themes. If you have read my book Effective Continuous Improvement, then you might recognise this approach.

The basic idea is that you list out some performance characteristics that you’d like to generally see more of in your business. These could be:

  • Faster
  • Simpler
  • Cheaper
  • More effective
  • Higher quality

I’m sure you get the idea.

You can apply these to your OTIF endeavours by allowing your teams to explore these characteristics with questions such as:

  • How can we speed up our processes to improve our OTIF levels?
  • What mistakes do we need to eliminate to improve delivery performance?
  • What changes can we make to simplify how we deliver our products and services?

Again, I’m sure you get the idea.

The annual schedule

A nice twist on this, and to help manage time, effort and focus, is to use the quarters of the year. Develop four questions that could provoke a discussion around improving on time delivery and attach one question to each quarter of the year. Don’t try to do everything at once and allow the question to linger in your organisation. Let teams share ideas with each other, mix up the people having the conversation. Get new ideas and try a few improvements out.

Once the next quarter arrives, or when you are ready to move to another question, let everyone know and repeat the process.

Using questions to develop an annual schedule for continuous improvement

Focus for your teams

Creating questions like this help to focus the minds within your business.

Some people are naturally able to identify improvements, or see a more productive vision of the future. For the rest of us, questions like these help to focus our energies and allow new ways of working to be thought up.

Writing up a few simple questions can focus enough good ideas to provide you with a cost effective improvement programme for the year ahead. Driving up your on time delivery performance doesn’t have to be rocket science. Give this approach a go if you haven’t got an improvement plan for the New Year.

And, if you haven’t got a system to capture and track your continuous improvements, don’t forget you can claim your free account for PDCA Complete by following this link.

As we’re at the end of the year, I hope that you have a great break and get some well earned rest over the festive period.

All the best,


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?'.