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3 tips for making big improvements in productivity

Richard Shipperbottom, founder of industry specialists Applied Acumen draws upon vast experience of improving productivity in the food and drink sector over the last twenty years to give us 3 tips for improving productivity. How many will you implement?

1. Challenge your standards – independently!

Quite obvious, and every good factory manager does this, but very, very few welcome any kind of independent review. Sure, the finance department might take a look, but let’s not kid dc numbersourselves; in most factories it is a challenge to get the numbers to stack up at all! New products, new machinery, marginal costings based upon imaginary runaway successes…and poor data capture, such as the always challenging question: ”how many did you actually make?” all contribute to what is often described as ‘the black box”. This is even before one considers the adherence (or most usually not) to whatever standards are in play, giving rise to self-fulfilling planning assumptions and the fog of under achievement. Read more

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Beat Food Inflation

With material price inflation now regularly making headlines, the Supermarkets have staked their intent very clearly: suppliers are largely expected to suck it up.

Richard Shipperbottom, founder of industry specialists Applied Acumen draws upon vast experience of reducing material costs in the food and drink sector over the last twenty years to give us 3 tips for reducing material costs. How many will you implement in 2017? Read more

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To “blerone”

To “blerone”, verb.

Not many people know, but this is a verb with a variety of different and interesting meanings:

  1. To make a foolish error with chocolate. Ex. “I’m afraid, Greg, that your eagerness to eat that choccy pudding is misplaced, as it looks bleroned to me; there’s only half the right amount in it.”
  2. To modify an item in one place whilst making no change anywhere else. Ex. “It’s bad news, Sir Philip. It looks increasingly likely they’ll blerone this pension thing. At least you won’t be made to cough up the entire deficit, though.”
  3. To take the British consumer for an idiot, on occasion possibly with some justification. Ex. “Do you think we can blerone them again, Mr Cowell? Undoubtedly, Louis, undoubtedly.”
  4. To remove alternate pieces of something in the hope that no one notices. (ref. “Jenga!”) Read more
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Resource Usage Variance

“Double, double, toil and trouble. Fire burn and cauldron bubble…” followed by a management report telling you that you have used too much “wing of bat” last week!

Understanding usage variances can often seem like a ‘black art’, especially when your accounts team present you with a vast spreadsheet with hundreds of seemingly meaningless numbers. In all likelihood, most of this is simply ‘noise’ that gets in the way of identifying opportunity. Even if all variances have potential for improvement, they can’t all be your top priority.

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