Thursday, February 28, 2013

Continuous Improvement? Maybe, but at what rate?

CFO says they are concerned about delivering a quality product.  As we all know, saying this pious statement is far easier than achieving excellent quality on a consistent basis.

T.P. Wright is famous for proving the power of continuous improvement through discovering the learning curve.  In 1936, while he was building the first airplanes for the US Air Force, he showed that the more you repeat something, the faster, better, and cheaper it can become.  For most things, the cost for the current batch drops to 80% of the previous batch every time the production doubles in total units produced. 

CFO has been helping chicken producers slowly improve.

For example, Canadian Chicken Farmers got a government grant to help create/improve a poultry bio-security system called Safe, Safer, Safest which defined the risks in raising chickens, who was responsible for each risk, and best practices to avoid or minimize those risks

In 1999, CFO launched Safe, Safer, Safest.  CFO started with a 7 year cycle to fully implement their quality and risk management system.

As of Jan. 2013, they have moved to a three year implementation cycle.  Since there are about 7 batches of birds going through their raising process every year, that's 21 batches of chicken (aggregate total of 0.6 Billion birds) before the full system is implemented.

We get to eat their "practice" birds while they are putting the finishing touches on how to produce safe, bio-hazard free birds.

Compare CFO's quality management program implementation speed to that of HAACP or ISO 9001 international quality management systems that are typically fully implemented in just 1 year.

Anybody in the automotive parts system knows of what I speak.  You had it done in time and working well or you weren't getting any more orders from your customers.  That tends to put a fine focus on your priorities.

CFO seems to feel that glacially slow improvement is better than no improvement whatsoever.  I somewhat agree, but I think they can do better.

Perhaps the consumers should wait until more of the quality system has been implemented and proven effective before they buy any more chicken.

For Ontario`s chicken producers to have produced billions of chickens over decades of experience, you'd think chicken producers would have it pretty well perfected by now.  I believe there is lots of room for even more improvement by them.  When will we see action in the best interest of the public?

The world's best rate of continuous improvement for an industry sector of which I am aware was better than 10% per year, every year, for more than 20 years and counting.  Perhaps CFO can use this as a benchmark against which to measure their rate of improvement.  Unfortunately, CFO's data shows nothing, or shows the opposite, except for their sales & marketing miracle.

Perhaps a good dose of competition could help those chickens see a way to improve even faster.  Their jobs might depend upon it.

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