Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Batch and Weave

Micro-Processes , Structural Processes, and Shorter  Product Development Times

The theme is well understood at this point: those that can sense and respond to market needs and demands, and can iterate their products, designs, features etc. faster than the competition, eventually "out evolve" them. I saw this years ago in Japanese manufacturing strategy called lean production.

A key part of this "lean" was the ability to turn production processes away from "long lines" to "flexible cells". Then, within each cell there was (usually) a key machine that had a "set up & turnaround time". This was a key constraint. But here is something you probably didn't know: operators of these machines kept very detailed log books of how the machine operated in reality, and issues that effected its performance. We are talking a "log book on a string" here. These books would provide details of real "constraints" in the production process so designers could see that their design changes would have key impacts on the production line. Underpinning the systems thinking here, was a clear culture that understood the upstream and downstream impacts of their performance and failures. Micro-processes (Machine Set Up Constraint) fit seamlessly into Macro-Processes (Product Development Process).

For all the talk about Lean Production & Agile Enterprise we still don't seem to be doing a great job of this in the last 20 years. What strikes me here, again, is that there are many Micro-Processes that an individual can capture, and these will matter in themselves to the individual capturing them, and in aggregate to those involved in strategy, finance and marketing. This is one theme of the Enterprise 2.0 debate that isn't really being brought forward enough.

CEBP (communications enabled business processes) are one way of unlocking some of those key constraints, but perhaps there are very many other opportunities to capture and share micro-processes. I am sure that a lot more could and will be done with CEBP and internal organisational efficiencies.

 Costs and How To Curtail Them

Denis Howlett has a posting on how to look at costs a bit more closely: a lot of smaller companies don't have a formal review process for this, but just by asking existing service providers to re-tender you can regularly attain decent cost savings. Denis does recommend that companies also look to see how they can refocus from offline to online marketing. At VoiceSage we attend quite a few conferences but we also do quite a bit of our work through "teleweb". Of course a core part of what we do around here is help companies bring in their outstanding debtor days/ sales days outstanding by using Interactive Voice Messaging (IVM). One of our Clients is a Catalogue company called Otto, and it brought in its money twice as fast using VoiceSage. But there are add on points to this: we know that companies can reduce their outstanding debt by Communications Enabling the Credit and Collections cycle. But have you traced all the upstream and downstream benefits of being more in control of this process?

 Telco2 Themes: The Continued Importance of CEBP

Telco2 Themes

The guys at Telco2 continue to show the way in terms of what is possible for all parties in the new CEBP marketplace. looks like another good line up for the November Brainstorm. Let me throw a theme into the hat: "What enables you to create a platform of availability"?

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