Do you ever watch your OTIF improvements going backwards?

It can be disappointing to watch and it usually hurts your OTIF performance. I’m sure that you, like the rest of us, don’t want to go back to reactive working!

What can you do about this phenomena? How do you stop your business from going backwards and driving you mad?

Five approaches to consider

OTIF performance
Keep the management of your OTIF performance changes simple!


Have you documented your processes and working practices? If you haven’t, this is a great place to start. Forgetting key steps in a process is an obvious way that improvements get lost.

You don’t need to have a long winded / encyclopaedic document, even well written notes are a good place to start. If you can tie the information into a formal management system (such as ISO 9001), even better.


Defining a routine for your teams to follow, to trigger key activities, can help stop the slide. When your team know who handles what activity and when, management simplifies.

Keeping this routine in the eye line of day to day working helps it to embed. Embedded routines become habits.


Like the documentation point, setting clear standards is essential to inform your team. If you want to maintain a certain standard, be clear about it.

The standards could be a sequence of operations, or a housekeeping standard. If it helps your business deliver on time, then capture it.

Make the standard available, and visible, which leads to the next point.


You need to check your standards often. Don’t leave auditing to be something that only the Quality Department do.

On a frequent basis, check the standards. If the standard isn’t met put an action in place to deal with it.

Little and often is the best strategy with this. Take the Kaizen approach and nibble away at reviewing your standards.


My important fifth point is that you need to manage the processes you have implemented. If you see something that isn’t right you need to nip it in the bud.

We all let standards slip. It is the job of the manager to ensure that this doesn’t happen on their watch!

In summary

All improvements affect one or more processes. If you deploy the process change in the correct manner the right habits will form. These habits are stronger when accompanied with documentation, routines and standards.

Decay is a natural part of business life. Effective management and auditing can help keep this all in check.

Don’t let your OTIF performance succumb to poor management habits after your improvements have been made.

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?'.