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Results

This proved to be a very successful process. In the initial stages, there was some resistance, especially from the poor performers. Within two years, results from those locations who took part in the process demonstrated the value of the process to the rest. We had refined the process itself continuously during this period, so new entrants experienced a mature approach. We had a high demand for this service, with a waiting list of about 18-24 months. The head office expanded these services to third parties on a commercial basis. Eventually the unit became a major global service provider in this area.

Lessons

  • 1. Busy people at busy facilities do not welcome demands from the head office for information, especially if that information might be used to show them in a bad light. So when collecting data, try as far as possible to use information in existing reports and returns. The fewer times that demands are made on a site, the more likely it is that they will report accurately and on time.
  • 2. Perfection and absolute accuracy are the Holy Grail, but not worth the benefit. The aim should be to produce a good enough result with as little effort as possible.
  • 3. Top performers run their businesses in a similar way, focusing on a number of key aspects, which bring business benefit. These are well known, as are the factors, which don't matter significantly.
  • 4. Poor performers put their efforts into excuses and the wrong things.
  • 5. When giving advice to sites, it is important to be welcomed. You can't force people to take advice.
  • 6. Measurements need a consistent set of definitions measured in a consistent way.

Principles

  • 1. Knowing where you are is the first step in an improvement effort. Knowing what to do about it is not always obvious. We can seek recipes from top performance—and use them.
  • 2. In-house and inter-site comparisons will take you a long way, but it can become incestuous and self congratulatory. The market is the best leveler; it is necessary to benchmark against others.
 
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