Category Archives: business

Venetian Warships, Faster Horses and Legal Firms.

When a US law firm wanted to find a way of becoming more efficient and deliver legal matters more effectively they turned to a set of techniques that have their roots back when the Venetians built ships at the Arsenale, techniques continued by Henry Ford, once he’d noticed his clients wanted faster horses.

Today that law firm is lauded as being “5 years ahead of every other AmLaw 200  firm” and now claims to deliver legal matters some 15 -50% faster than before. Not surprisingly this has driven down costs, driven up satisfaction and helped to secure new customers.

On the 6th April 2011 Mark Greenhouse of ResQ will be presenting to the Yorkshire Law Society on the techniques that can be used to improve the speed of delivery whilst reducing costs and how this will affect firm profitability and pave the way for true Fixed and Alternative billing to take place.

For details visit Yorkshire Law Society Continuous Improvement in Law.

If you’re not in Yorkshire and would like to find out more then drop us your contact details on info@resqmr.co.uk  and we’ll get back to you.

Thanks,  Mark

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Lean Management & Continuous Improvement – Is your Law Firm ahead of this Organisation?

** You can get a FREE copy of our latest 2013 Lean Management for Law Firms  handbook by clicking on download** The original article continues below

Click here to download FREE Lean Legal pdf guide

The Association of Corporate Counsel has noted that the company in the article below is “five years ahead of every other AmLaw 200 firm” because of its Lean & Continuous Improvement programmme. The programme based on management principles already proven in many other sectors and departments to deliver;

  • lower costs, (increases margin)
  • faster responses, (improves cashflow)
  • better quality,
  • and improved customer satisfaction.

Get the article here; Continuous Improvement in Law Firms – LeanThinking in Legal Services (the article was first published in September 2010 in the Law Business Review).

Alternatively visit our new website at levantar.co.uk.

If they are five years ahead of US firms, what about the UK, do we have any organisations looking at this, who could claim to be five years into a lean thinking implementation within the legal sector?

We are presenting to the Yorkshire Law Society, on this subject in April this year.

Do you think that Lean Management programs will work in the UK legal sector be it, law firms or general counsel?

About the Author;

Mark Greenhouse has been working on the application of Lean management in Legal and design led Manufacturing companies for the past 5 years. His own Lean journey started back in 1988 when he started study of Production Engineering. He’s applied lean in many organisation types, finance, call centres, banking, FMCG etc. Mark also provides lectures on operational management at Leeds University Business School.

Free Lean Management Training Course

From time to time, we offer free training via other organisations.  One such organisation we work with is Leeds, York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.

On the 25th March 2011, in Leeds, we’re offering a free 2 hour insight into Lean Management techniques. This is about how Lean can be applied across all departments in any organisation, so it isn’t limited to just manufacturing or profit facing bsuinesses.

So

  • if you work in IT, Finance, NHS, Public Sector, Service, Marketing or Manufacturing companies or
  • if your career means you are responsible for continuous improvement, process improvement, or training or
  • if you are faced with getting more out with the same or fewer resources

then this course will give you something to take away to use in improvement.

You can find all the details here LEAN MANAGEMENT TRAINING  COURSE

This session will show you how you can improve your business efficiency, by using tools and techniques developed in manufacturing and now proven within organisations, ranging from Tesco, Toyota, Zara, GE, NHS, Intel, Johnson & Johnson, Seyfarth Shaw (Law firm) through to Starbucks.

Lean manufacturing businesses found that more than 70% of their improvement projects lay not on the shop floor but in the offices and service based departments and so it has spread to these sectors. It will help to improve your business speed, capacity, cost control and quality whatever your sector or department.

If you’ve got any questions on this training then drop us a line.

Thanks

ResQ

Where is the Value?

In recent months I’ve met several managers, running departments (operations, marketing, HR, IT), all working for different companies (Sectors include: retail, banking, manufacturing, IT) who at some point have all said a very similar thing;

“one of my problems is, my department isn’t seen as adding value, we’re seen as a cost centre”

So my questions are

  • where is the value created in organisations these days?
  • does it matter that the departments believe they are seen as cost centres?
  • If you subsitute the word profit for value does this help?
  • Should it matter that we understand where value is created? is knowing costs enough?

Any views or examples (positive or negative) on this greatly appreciated in the comments below.

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Saving £m’s, charging £???

or You Are The Ref ! – The Legal version

It’s Thursday 23rd September and you are called by a client to provide a way out of a sticky situation. The client, a large northern based football team (soccer franchise, anyone?), has only a few weeks to repay its loans before they are called in by their bank.

Currently, the football club is up for sale for a figure reported to be at least £420m and prospective buyers may be in the wings. However if they wait till the banks call the loans in, they could potentially buy the football club for less than the price of its outstanding loans, which are reportedly £280m, a saving it would appear of at least £140m for the buyer.

The dilemma is that if the club debt is called in and the banks technically own the football club, the club could be deemed to be in administration and the rules of the sport appear to determine that the club would be deducted 9 points.

If the points are deducted the football club could find it difficult to retain the services of some of it’s key assets, the players, and could even be staring at relegation and a drop in its revenue, which at the moment can at least service the loans.

Other clubs which have stepped down in the league structure have found the revenue drop coupled with large fixed overheads and player salaries ruinous.  

Should the loans be called in on the 15th October, you have been asked to provide a legal defence, to prevent the application of the sports “administration” rules and prevent the deduction of the 9 points.

1) How do you charge (billing structure) for your advice? (bearing in mind you could find the answer in an hour, three hours or three weeks!)

2) How much do you charge? ( if your advice prevents the 9 point deduction it could head off the spectre of relegation and could protect revenue worth several £10’s of millions of pounds)

Any ideas, then drop a comment in the box below, we’d love to hear how you’d value the legal advice.

Never happen, you say?http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/robertpeston/2010/09/why_rbs_looks_set_to_own_liver.html it might do!

(Ask about Lean Principle #1 if you’re wondering what a legal pricing question is doing on a lean blog. )

Starbucks Lean Improvements

In case you missed it Starbucks claimed a TRIPLING of Profits and a DRAMATIC surge in customer satisfaction in recent weeks by using LEAN THINKING, but what exactly did they do?

According to this Lean Japanese Techniques story in The Wall Street Journal, they

  • Saved between 20 and 33% of the processing time in making coffee, which meant customers get a faster service
  • Used some of the time saved to engage with customers, driving customer satisfaction from 56 to 76%, in the branch cited.
  • Re-engineered deliveries to the stores to cut down on the 40 or so trips some staff had to make back and forth with early morning deliveries
  • Stopped making large batches of coffee grinds in the morning and now make batches every 8 minutes to keep the grinds fresh and the aroma wafting through the store
  • Used 5S techniques of layout and colour coding to ensure everything is to hand.

Showing you don’t have to cut go out and just costs with Lean,  you can use the freed up time to engage with customers and other techniques can be employed to ensure customers can get what they want.

cheers

mark

 

About the Author;

Mark Greenhouse has been working on the application of Lean management in Legal and design led Manufacturing companies for the past 5 years. His own Lean journey started back in 1988 when he started study of Production Engineering. He’s applied lean in many organisation types, finance, call centres, banking, FMCG etc. Mark also provides lectures on operational management at Leeds University Business School.

Sir Terry Leahy’s Lean Commandments?

I came across these Ten Commandments for Good Management from a presentation given by Sir Terry Leahy, CEO of Tesco PLC, Fresh & Easy in the States, only one of them is called Lean Thinking but I think that I can easily make a case for six of them relating to a true lean journey. You might even be able to make a case for another two of his Ten Commandments to be part of the same journey.

For info Tesco started on a lean journey in about 1994, when a clear second in the UK Supermarket league, fifteen years later and they are almost twice the size of their nearest UK competitors and are making a go of it internationally.

Here are, a shortened version of the Commandments: (link to full article below)

Commandment Number 1: Find the truth – LEAN; Gemba

Commandment Number 2: Set audacious goals.

Commandment Number 3: Vision, values and culture are critical.

Commandment Number 4: Follow the customer – LEAN; only customers can truly value your products or services.

Commandment Number 5: Create a steering wheel – LEAN; Visual Management Systems

Commandment Number 6: People, process and systems – LEAN; Value Stream Mapping, waste reduction, & create flow 

Commandment Number 7: Lean thinking.  LEAN; I’ve left the full quote in here, ” Most think that lean thinking comes out of Just-In-Time manufacturing in Japan, but it can apply to anything from retail through banking. We apply lean thinking to the complete supply chain, and that is why we are more productive than most.”

Commandment Number 8: Competition is good (LEAN??; read Taichii Ohno’s book the Toyota Production System and you’ll find that they set out to learn and beat the US producers.)

Commandment Number 9: Simple beats complex – LEAN; Value Stream Mapping, Removing the 7 hidden wastes.

Commandment Number 10: Leadership (LEAN??; as he is quoted “So big organisations in order to be effective needs thousands of leaders, not just one”) 

If you want to read the full article, with all the details of the commandments then it can be found on the following website  Sir Terry Leahy’s Ten Commandments.

What do you think are 6 or 8 of the commandments based on Lean, can a case be made for all 10? or is that just trying to fit the data to support the model?

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