Nov 05 2013

Steven Spear wrote that you can’t design a perfect system, you can only discover great systems. I wholeheartedly agree & over dinner tonight we were discussing some examples. Some people will suggest the perfect formula for calculating inventory or buffer levels, others may tell you that you need to have x number of kanbans for the  delivery frequency & volumes that you use and others may profess to have the ideal method of managing or solving problems.

While there are many best practices in each of these areas, every organisation is different & there are nuances and potential contingencies that will always have to be dealt with. Dynamic organisations understand that when it comes to the process, there is no right first time, there is no perfect solution. With every solution to every problem there are always compromises & trade offs. What works well in one factory or facility may cause problems in another.

Sure there are good rules of thumb, great processes that can be borrowed or copied from elsewhere, but in the end, the best process for your operation, is most likely to be discovered through experimentation with your people, with your processes & with the conditions that you face. This doesn’t mean that it “has to be invented here”, that you can’t copy best practice from elsewhere, just be careful that you understand that it will most likely have to be modified to suit your location, environment, culture & conditions.

Take what you can from others, copy from the best, but always remember that anything you design will undoubtedly have some flaws. That you will inevitably have to make improvements & modifications to get it working the way you want, the way you need. Dynamic organisations, by definition & by their nature, are always changing, always improving. It doesn’t matter what you call it or where you got it from, the process that will work best for you, is most likely waiting to be discovered by the people who actually do the process; your front line team!


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