PrintLogin to download pdfBurning Platforms for change [KI]

When we start working with new sites and start talking about the actions necessary to generate an increase in productivity and the ways in which the site could manage Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) one of the first things we look for is desire to change.

Simply, and i’m sure many of you would agree, if your management team doesn’t have a desire to change then no change will occur. What change will occur if your operators have no desire for change?

The answer: very little.

Why: Simple pareto – if 20% of your workforce (your managers) will be working flat out trying to drive improvements into place that are often greatly resisted, how successful are they likely to be?

Here’s the mysterious thing….in probably 80% of the businesses we go to this desire for change stops cascading down at middle or junior management level.

Quite often in FMCG businesses this desire to change is fuelled by what we call “a burning platform” i.e. an emergency situation in which change is inevitable. The burning platform may be a negative ‘push’ such as a supply issue or equipment failure, or a positive ‘pull’ such as winning a new piece of business or commiting to a change plan for the future.

When i read the news right at the moment there are lots of references to burning platforms with the so called ‘credit crisis’/’credit crunch’ that the media is using to sell papers at the moment. Just this morning i was reading this news update on the Food Manufacture website identifying how supermarket chains are placing pressure on manufacturers to cut costs in an effort to boost consumer spending.

Now here are some thoughts for your leadership team:

  • Do you feel that you are in some sort of burning platform scenario with a huge need to cut cost and improve performance?
  • Do you have an improvement process in place, do you need to cut costs, or are you planning a big improvement activity?
  • If the answer is ‘yes’ to the 2 questions above: how effectively do you believe your ‘burning platform’ is being cascaded through the business?
  • How willing and capable do you believe your teams are to adapt to this change…and what actions are they currently taking to prove this? A measure here – if you’re apprehensive even discussing change with them….then you already know your answer!


If your burning platform is being felt at all levels of your team then change is inevitable. Vast, massive, unstoppable, OEE driving, productivity boosting change!

If your burning platform is stopping at your middle and front line management teams (as can often be case) then change will be a long hard slog!

Call to action:

What action could you take to better communicate the need for change in your business?

Your burning platform:

from that same food manufacturer article: Nick O’Reilly of BRS is quoted as saying “manufacturers should critically review their businesses and operations to see if there were any skill gaps in their managements that could be filled by interim managers.”

So again – what are you doing to motivate your teams to change because if you’re not then perhaps the statement above might be the first sparks of your burning platform.

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