- How do you run your operation?
- Could you draw a clear diagram to explain it?
- Does your management method follow a structured approach or did it grow 'organically'? - Which might be a fancy word for a painful and expensive period of trial and error...
Business Commonalities and Unique Aspects
First Principles Consulting is a specialist global firm, assisting companies improve their businesses by improving their management cycle. What is the management cycle? In our world, this simply refers to the continuous loop of Plan-Do-Check-Act and is common to all businesses regardless of their nature. Also called the Deming Cycle, after the author Dr. W. Edwards Deming who published it in the Fifties, it encapsulates a simple process, which one would think of as common sense. Well, it may be common sense, but from years of frontline consulting experience, we can tell you it certainly is not common practice.
Herein lies your opportunity. By determining in which part of the cycle we are suffering the biggest gaps, we can focus our business improvement efforts there first.
Usually First Principles Consulting conducts an analysis to find the constraints (of any kind: material, time, skills, etc). We then outline the opportunity to you, together with the expected benefits, so you can make an informed decision.
When it comes to business improvement methods, it turns out that one size does not fit all. This is because businesses and opportunities are unique.
That's why we have an extensive toolbox for business improvement. But it usually starts with a rigorous analysis of your management and/or business processes. Coupled with some statistical analysis, observations and a choice of the right method.
Example of Our Work
Production and Productivity Improvement Project
Project: UG Gold Mine Western Australia - An unusual assignment, this project had a poorly defined scope and deliverables, with the only client brief being to improve production and productivity. This was the kind of project that drew on all of our diagnostic skills, requiring physical observations, statistical analysis as well as systems and process reviews. Furthermore, a series of One-on-One interviews were conducted as well as some workshops to help identify other issues. Through the lens of People-Process-Technology, contrasted against a well-proven To-Be management system, the gaps soon became obvious. A business improvement plan was developed, client stakeholders recruited to the project team and a structured, stage-managed project was in full swing.
Outcomes: Interestingly, the largest initial bottleneck in the end-to-end value chain turned out to be in a different place than most people suspected. It was found that a support process (in this case the Geology function) was preventing the production process from running smoothly. Once identified, KPIs and management processes were put in place. A daily focus on the backlog of drill core processing reduced the backlog from 1500m to 0, thereby eliminating that particular production constraint. The team continued to focus relentlessly on the trinity of People-Process-Technology and worked towards that ideal management system. A large number of other interventions also contributed to an improvement of productivity of approximately 10%.
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