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First Metre Working

On Target with Minimum Variation

As computer system failures over the past decade have vividly demonstrated, regularly and at enormous cost, advances in technology have too often blinded business leaders to using the store of knowledge freely available to them in-house. Technology, however highly regarded, is no substitute for talented brainpower. With Management-NewStyle’s 'flowmapping' approach management can provide everyone within their organisation with a simple technical means to tap this knowledge bank and organise the process journey from the 'first metre' to the 'last mile', thereby delivering a superior performance that is ‘on target with minimum variation’. First Metre working relies upon, and is an integral part of genchi genbutsu (GG), one of the five distinctive 'Toyota Way' disciplines* which ensures that people go and see and learn at the source - that is the 'first metre'  - of the problem in hand, thus ignoring hearsay and assumption.

Systemic thinking combined with process aligned working, the essence of 'flowmapping' (an example from 1982 is shown below) delivers powerful new insights to individuals about how they can contribute to transforming both themselves and their organisation from being inward-looking to outward-serving. With FlowMap Professional software, whether you use the stand-alone Solo edition or the networked Team or Enterprise editions, you can begin the process journey confident of reducing the wastage of time, money, resources and opportunities that dog the bottom line of most businesses. And as you imagine breasting the tape at the end of the ‘last mile’ in the chase for efficient, sustainable profitability, remember that the race will be lost the moment you ignore the importance of the ‘first metre’ and stumble over the starting blocks. 

The 'First Metre’  Proposition 

Success in any business venture is primarily dependent upon the iterative thoroughness and success of unseen decisions made, and actions taken, during the ‘first metre’ of each stage of the journey to market. The ultimate success of these actions only becomes evident during the exposed ‘last mile’ of the journey.

The 'first metre' concept is of fractal application.** At its ultimate level of recursion the 'first metre' concept is founded in what Management-NewStyle calls the The Four T's of truth, trust, transparency and treating others as you would expect to be treated. At the practical level the following four points highlight the main aspects of 'first metre' working. 

1 - The principle of the 'first metre' applies throughout the life cycle of a problem, process or project.
2 - The economic-quality of a given process output is directly proportional to the care invested in the design and operational definition of the process and the stability of its subsequent operation and behaviour.
3 - The continuous economic-improvement of a given process is dependent upon the successful optimisation and orchestration of all of its component sub-processes viewed as a viable system.
4 - The 'meeting of customer needs with minimum variation' will only be economically mastered by the steady application of the 'first metre' discipline.

*The Toyota Way comprise five key disciplines: Kaizen; Genchi Genbutsu; Challenge; Teamwork and Respect.
** A 'fractal' is a logical patterning that repeats itself at every scale throughout its application. 

Download the project report of Unisys's Milton Keynes Education Center.

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