Archive for July, 2010

WOW!! Thank you Lucky Marble

July 25th, 2010 admin No comments

As we get older, those ‘WOW!!’ moments, the few seconds during which time seems to stand still as you try to comprehend the messages your senses have just sent¬† to you, tend to get rarer and rarer.

As a child, ‘WOW!!’ moments are part and parcel of growing up, as a teenager they tend to be associated with girls and music. As an adult, as we become supposedly wiser and more experienced – seen it all, done it all – there’s always a danger that each WOW!! (which still often tend to involve girls, but from a long way off!!) could be the last.

Well, I have just had one, and it was so enjoyable that I think that I’ll now dedicate the rest of my life to seeking out further ones (a joke, by the way!).

Permanently looking for new ideas and approaches to develop my business, I decided that it was time to develop another web site to ‘reach out’ to a new audience. What I have done in the past is to develop sites from a standard template, and I took the time yesterday – Saturday – to review the offerings from the different service providers. I came across a recently excellent site from Lucky Marble Web Solutions on which not only are there hundreds of really excellent templates which can be personalised and reviewed before purchase, but also a very comprehensive set of education videos which, in my humble opinion, would enable even the most inexperienced of potential website developers to build the confidence and know-how necessary to do something by themselves. Reasonably priced compared with the ‘competition’, and on top of that a $10 ’summer sizzler’ discount. Why would I go anywhere else?

So there I was, beginning of Saturday afternoon, a proud owner of a spanking new Dreamweaver template, ready to take further steps towards world domination of Lean Supply Chain consultancy……

Unfortunately, things weren’t going to plan. Despite what I was seeing on the education videos, I just couldn’t get the same things to happen as I started developing my first pages. The videos did insist – very strongly – on the importance of getting Dreamweaver to set up the site correctly, and I thought that I followed the instructions correctly, even though there was slight difference on my PC…..

By the middle of the afternoon, having gone through around 5 reinstallations, I decided that it was time to get the Lucky Marble support people involved. After all, it is their template. I didn’t find the answer to my problem in the FAQs, forum and support videos, so I left a message on the technical support describing my issue. The site indicated that I’d get a rapid reply but within normal weekday working hours, so with the time difference between Canada and Europe, I reckoned it would Tuesday morning my time at best before I got anything.

Imagine my surprise getting up this morning and logging on as I saw that I had not one, but two replies: a first one from a gentleman called Brandon Devnich, who is systems administrator at Lucky Marble, and who told me that “Typically, we don’t even check the ticket centre on the weekend, but I had something else I was looking into and thought I’d just glance in to see if there was anything pressing — your issue was something I thought needed addressing right away.”

Brandon had passed on my ticket to Colin Fraser, who I’d almost got to know through listening to a few of his short ‘how-to’ videos during yesterday afternoon. And after Brandon’s message, there was one from Colin, had not only taken on my issue in less than one hour after receiving Brandon’s note, but went to the trouble of building a five-minute video to actually how to get around the issue I was facing. And this was not even a problem with the product – this was a particularity with how Dreamweaver is installed on certain PCs – watch the video to learn more.

That was my WOW!! moment – hearing Colin say “Hi Peter”. And do you know what? The simple solution outlined in the video works!! And it’s now Sunday morning, and I can get on with what I was planning to do, 48 hours ahead of what I estimated was going to be the best time I’d get a reply.

WOW!! Thanks Brandon, Colin, and Lucky Marble.

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Expert House Movers – a Lean ballet.

July 14th, 2010 admin No comments

I’ve probably read 50% of everything that has ever been written on Lean (of that, probably 98% is in English, you just don’t realise how lucky you are to be both Lean advocates and readers of the English language – is it a surprise that Lean thinking is slower to catch on elsewhere?).

Anyway, of the 98% of the 50%, the vast majority comes up with common themes. Womack and Jones’ five principles. The importance of ‘Respect for People’. The key role of management.The contribution of the people.¬† How Lean is a journey, not a destination. Etc etc.

One other common observation is that ‘Lean is not easy’. It doesn’t happen overnight. It needs courage, burns calories, loses sleep, and damages marraiges (OK, maybe not the latter, but I imagine that there must be odd occurrences).

So we all agree, Lean is not easy. Don’t we?

Well, have you ever tried to move a mansion house?

I have just watched an amazing programme on Expert House Movers. These are people who plan for months and work for weeks (no, I didn’t get that the wrong way around) to move large buildings, and in this case a typical townhouse from 1906, a few hundred yards to make place for other construction (in this case, a hospital extension). Respect, respect. OK, there may be other engineering feats far more impressive and strenuous, but they haven’t passed on French TV yet, and this one simply took my breath away.

Basically, they drill holes into the foundations, insert massive metal beams, lift the whole building upwards, insert wheels… and then roll it along. Fascinating. Check out the videos on the Expert House Movers site.

The one thing that got me on this programme was that everybody concerned was serein and calm, knew exactly what they needed to do, immediately stopped everything should there be the slightest problem or risk… and they all seemed to be smiling.

And this stuff is probably five thousand times more difficult than implementing Kanbans and performing Ishakawa analyses. So the next time you are a little down in the dumps because the Lean projects are not progressing as planned, slip on a Expert House Movers video.

These people have Lean culture fine-tuned down to an art.

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