A summer of planning and learning experiences

By August 14, 2018October 8th, 2018Jon's blog

By Jon Tudor, Managing Director, True North Excellence

Learning providers such as True North Excellence aren’t much different to manufacturers during the summer period.

Many of the large plants I visit during July and August have their annual shut down. It’s a strange time to visit plants, but one I particularly enjoy as the people I meet appear more relaxed, more reflective on the year and how their journey is progressing (or not in many cases).

Shut down gives many managers and leaders a chance to rest and re-energise. It also presents leaders with an opportunity to take stock of their journey to excellence, make honest assessments of their progress and adjustments to their plans, both personal and operationally.

True North Excellence is very similar to manufacturers in this respect as we don’t run courses and learning experiences over summer, a virtual shutdown. What we do is:

  • Increase the number of plant sharing visits – always good if located in a nice part of the country. 😊
  • Identify trends in Operational Excellence and understand what kind of learning and development clients are looking for.
  • Make adjustments to our operational plan based on customer feedback during those visits.
  • Overall, we secretly enjoy the reduction in phone calls and emails and use the time to think, plan and work up concepts for future learning experiences.

With under a year to go, planning is well underway for our annual conference Journey to Excellence 2019, which will be held in Manchester on 19-20th June. We already have some inspirational keynotes from the USA, UK and Europe who have agreed to share.


On the trail of best practice

Personally, I aim to make at least five site visits over the summer. It’s a fantastic opportunity to see continuous improvement in action and witness what goes on behind the scenes in facilities with a strong reputation for Operational Excellence.

I’ve got plenty of visits arranged including:

  • A satellite manufacturer
  • A biscuit manufacturer
  • A globally recognised Lean organisation in the south west of England
  • A packaging plant and my favourite brewery in Germany

This last one is nothing to do with beer, I promise!

Mini learning experience

Meeting Adrian McGhee at Mini Oxford

In late July, I spent a day at the Mini plant in Oxford where they’re preparing for production of their first fully electric Mini.My visit focused on finding more about their approach to coaching and the Valued-Add Production System (VPS), which is a key element of the BMW Production System.

We’ll be visiting the Mini plant again in November, this time for a Sales & Operational Planning workshop. Full details here.


Mini plant learning experience

Exploring the Quality Maze at Mini Oxford

New products coming soon

When I return from a visit, I’m always brimming with ideas, which often leads to the development of new learning experiences. I am working on a new learning series that I look forward to sharing with you in due course. Keep an eye on our monthly newsletter for more information.

Enjoy your summer break. If you feel you have something you want to show and share with me, then please drop me a line – always very happy to visit, particularly if there is a mountain or country pub nearby! 😊