March 2017 breakfast: All about processes

Our March 2017 meeting was last breakfast at our winter venue, The Mix, before we move to our new summer location, the Bistro at Stonham Barns. But we’ll be back at the Mix in the year.

Meanwhile, minds were focused on processes and efficiency, which are the themes of several of our members’ businesses, and improving all kinds of processes was the topic for this month’s speaker, John Cockburn-Evans, of Accendit Coaching and Aspire2BLean.

Kate Kelly, the Business Plumber, works with organisations on their processes, which she described as the hidden part and the pipework, to ensure a smooth flow of work with no blockages.

Shelli Moyes, of MPMIT, delves into the depths of computers, laptops and printers to make sure their equally hidden processes are working properly and to fix them if they are not.

Pete Stanway, of Hillcrest HR Services, deals with those uncomfortable employment processes known as “crossroads conversations”. This is when it becomes necessary to tell an employee that their terms and conditions are about to change.

Albert Peters, of Pegasus HR, has been dealing with a client’s employee who had been taking “French leave”, calling their employer to report an illness, then to report seeing the doctor and having a sick note, but neither handing in any paperwork or appearing at work for three weeks so far.

Keely Taylor, of KTSS, takes care of the admin processes her clients have no time for such as data entry and invoice chasing.

Solving problems is the passion of software specialist Sean Billings, of Syrinx Systems who design and fix software.

Allan Scott, of Mill House Media, takes care of the whole process of compiling, designing, emailing out and monitoring clients’ e-newsletters.

March 2017 breakfast Annya's awardAnd finally – congratulations to Annya Stoddart, of the Pain Relief Clinic. She has just been to the NEC to receive her Small Business Sunday Twitter award from its founder Theo Paphitis.  She won the award for her new business Wisdom Mind at her first attempt, a tweet with a 30-second video explaining acupuncture.

 

John Cockburn-Evans on eliminating waste from organisations

March 2017 breakfast John Cockburn-EvansJohn’s presentation started with a quote from a Honda CEO.  “Lean is the bit your customers are prepared to pay for”.

In other words, customers do not expect to pay for an organisation’s internal processes, especially if they are inefficient or wasteful.  So for maximum profit there needs to be the minimum waste in the system.

After 30 years of corporate life which has taken him, among other places, to Siberia.  John finally took the plunge last November of setting up on his own as a consultant to help businesses eliminate waste and introduce efficiency into their processes.

He said a big mistake businesses make when trying to improve performance is failing to engage employees.

Physical waste within a company can include paper, energy, effluents and defective products. He finds it is often more effective to eliminate excesses by encouraging employees to become Waste Hunters. This has proven to be very effective.

“Not every employee is a mathematician, but they are absolute geniuses at solving process problems because they are at the sharp end,” he said.

Eliminating waste is something he can’t do for a company.  “I can show them the way but I can’t do it for them”. The successful path to becoming a lean company involves having the correct systems, the correct mindset and behaviour and a passion for the project.

Our spokesman and chair

Allan Scott, our chair, was so exercised by the proposal to increase NIC contributions for the self-employed in the March 2017 budget, he took action. He spoke out about it on social media and wrote to local MPs. Within 24 hours there had been a u-turn, with the government scrapping the plan – for the time being at least. He was also invited to speak about it on local radio.

Plainly, he has more power than he knows! But seriously, he warned that the climb-down may only be a temporary reprieve pending the Taylor report. He said that it is key to continue monitoring the situation. He will continue lobbying on our behalf about the importance, and the risks, of being a self-employed small business.

 

Tell us what you want

Allan is happy to receive any suggestions for what members want to see the Chamber doing in the future. Please send your ideas (and your want lists) to [email protected].

 

Dates for your diary:

April Coffee Morning April Breakfast
Needham Market Community Centre The Bistro, Stonham Barns
Friday, 7 April Friday, 21 April
10am-noon Starting at 6.45am

For more information contact Keely Taylor

phone: 01449 770965

e-mail: [email protected]

 

Anyone who has a story to publicise should contact marketing officer Alison Withers:

[email protected]

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