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When to Map

April 4, 2014

Have you ever thought about your company as a series of linked processes rather than people, departments and job descriptions?

Processes consist of activities that are related and linked to produce something. Examples could be a widget manufacturing process, an order entry process or marketing process. Generally, the output of a process flows into another process as an input.

Analysing a business as a sequence of processes can create tremendous value.

  • What if you needed to deliver your service or your product faster?
  • What if your staff were continually making mistakes?
  • How would you stop all the fire-fighting going on in your company?

It’s all about process.

But this is more than flowcharting. It’s about the detail.

I have written a new article that has just been published on my website. Read it here, and get involved in your processes.


Why Business Improvement?

March 14, 2014

I am always fascinated to find out why a company should choose to conduct a business improvement project. Of course, there are many different factors, ranging from the need to win new contracts, to just making life at work easier.

I have been conducting some research for myself recently, speaking to current and past clients, and asking them to summarise what is was that triggered the need to engage in improvement activity.

If you follow me on Twitter (@AlistairManning) you will be able to see the results using the hashtag #myclientsays

10 Keys to better Process Mapping

February 25, 2014

1. The people doing the work are the best source of realistic data for building a process map.

2. To get cooperation from the people doing the work it is critical that they understand the value in process improvement.

3. The people doing the work are the top ‘factual’ authorities on that work and should be treated with appropriate respect.

4. Generalities are the enemy of good process maps. Push for specifics in your data gathering. To get specifics, break the process down into its items and steps.

5. Gather data at the work place with both explanation and demonstration.

6. Display each item as a separate line on your map with its own steps.

7. Display effects (relationships) between items on your map where one item supplies information that is used to do something to another item (i.e. transcribing information from one item to another, using one item to check information on another, etc.)

8. Display alternatives where the work is processed differently under different circumstances.

9. Display assembly and dis-assembly by bringing item lines together and by separating them.

10. The real test of a process map is not that it makes sense to people who have never done the work but rather that it makes sense to and is vouched for by those who do the work.

Introduction to Process Improvement

February 20, 2014

I’m an advocate of process improvement and have helped many clients to reap the benefits of really finding out how work gets done and then setting about the job of making it better.

Perhaps you are thinking about making your business processes more effective but don’t know where to start, or you just want some advice on getting going – I have published a new article on my website that may be of help.

Often, understanding how to begin an improvement initiative can be daunting. But it’s crucial that you get it right, otherwise you run the risk of deploying resource in the wrong direction. Process Improvement Basics might help – read it here.


ISO 14001 – update

February 14, 2014

As I previously reported, ISO 14001: 2004 is under review.

The EMS standard is being revised in line with a new high-level structure for all management system standards adopted by ISO, and a series of wide-ranging recommendations from ISO’s EMS Future Challenges report. Key changes in the revised draft standard include:

  • Understanding the organisation’s strategic context and engagement with interested parties
  • Greater focus on environmental performance improvement across the value chain
  • Evaluating organisational risks and opportunities in the context of external environmental conditions (e.g. adapting to climate change, resource availability)
  • Strengthening requirements on the involvement of top management and integration of environmental management into core business processes and alignment with business strategy
  • Greater clarity on external communication, including emphasis on data quality and assurance.

The proposed changes will mean organisations need to focus on building environment into their core business.

The new standard is expected to be published in June 2015, ahead of the new ISO 9001 standard.

Your Improvement Opportunity for 2014

February 10, 2014

My CEM improvement programme provides organisations with a structured, practical solution to improving productivity, reducing frustration, increasing standards and winning new business. It’s a 3 step process, each delivering specific value.

I’m now offering the first phase, Clarify, to new clients in 2014 for £1500.

There are 4 distinct steps that I take my clients through during the Clarify phase:

1 - Identify the problems

2 - Establish their impact on the business

3 – Define root cause

4 – Generate solutions

The benefits are as follows:

  • Making sure the resulting improvement efforts are focused on the right things
  • Reduces the risk of project failure and deploying resources on the wrong issues
  • Obtain real clarity on how the current problems affect the business – systems, people, attitudes, costs, time, customers
  • Ability to create a case for improvement, and the next step in the programme.

This is a terrific opportunity to finally rid your company of the frustrations, fire-fighting, complexity, customer complaints, long lead times, increasing costs and poor standards – and get it into shape for your best year yet.

For more information, contact me on 07986 442979 or

New Article – ISO 22301 and Business Continuity Management

February 10, 2014
Biz Continuity

I have just published a new article on my website in response to recent interest in ISO 22301.

You can read the article by clicking here.

The article goes into detail regarding the standard itself which organisations can become certified to.

What used to be termed ‘disaster recovery’ is no longer just applicable to IT….we all need assurance that our supply chains can continue to provide in the event of an ‘incident’.

More information on request.


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