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Business improvement is a culture, not an activity. Business objectives and targets are set by management and boards, but true operational business improvement is driven by the people at the coal face, the ones doing the job. Motivating and assisting them to deliver constant business improvement is a key task for management teams.
Business improvement comes in many flavours. Operational efficiency, cost reduction programmes, effective supply chain management, focussed information technology implementation, improving customer relationship management and maximising return on investment across various lines of expenditure are just a few of the more common ones. Measurement of the positive effect however is critical and this is where many organisations fall short.
Sustained and measureable business improvement requires a systematic approach, led by management that helps an organisation to optimise its underlying processes and systems to achieve more efficient results, ultimately delivering improved shareholder value.
Measurement is critical. As the saying goes, if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it. Beginning with a datum line, a measurement of the process or system output or efficiency is critical in understanding where we are, what can be achieved and indeed how the required improvement can be delivered.