From chaos to clockwork: The Drive to Peak – Route 1 Phases of growth

Paul Boughton

You are invited to join Roald Rodseth on the Drive to achieve Peak performance​

Potholes in the roads, power outages, water leaks, breakdowns of machines, poor product quality, escalating costs. Physical assets performing badly! Welcome to the painful world of chaos. No one wants to be here, and yet far too many live in this situation.

In the world of chaos everything is a crisis and hence the term given to this phase - The Crisis phase (Fig. 1).

For any organisation or enterprise to be caught in this situation is not only uncomfortable but is potentially deadly. If unchecked, the situation could deteriorate to the point that it could collapse. Loss and cost escalate uncontrollably (Fig 2) 

The solution to escape from the Crisis phase is to take measures to gain control over the situation. As the amount of control increases the enterprise moves into the Controlled phase. A characteristic of this phase is that if a promise is made, it is generally kept - but with a margin of error. For example, promising that a plant shut down will take eight hours to complete, will probably result in the downtime being ten hours rather than the promised duration. 

Further control leads to the Predictable phase. In this case the environment is so well controlled that ‘a promise you make is a promise you keep.’

The final phase is that of Peak. This is the desired position for any organisation to be in as it represents not only good control of the situation but effective optimisation thereof. Here the organisation has become one of the leaders in its field of endeavour. Everything runs like clockwork.

Not only are costs drastically affected by the phase the enterprise finds itself in, but its ability to produce the required product is also affected. Fig. 3 serves to illustrate this point. The dotted line with dark blue shading represents a production facility which is underperforming. This is the chaos scenario. This is contrasted by the solid line with light blue shading and this represents the clockwork scenario. In the case of the underperforming facility it takes longer to reach the next level of performance and the level of production is lower than in the more favourable case. The financial loss in the worst case situation is astronomical.

Clearly the challenge facing an enterprise is to move from chaos to clockwork. Growth toward Peak is the intention and regression toward Crisis is to be avoided like the plague.

The Drive will be divided into a series of smaller journeys, each dealing with an important aspect thereof. These are termed ‘routes’. Our specific focus will be the physical assets which undergird the enterprise. The intention is to consider what should be done to ensure that these perform at Peak levels. 

Roald Rodseth is Managing Director, Radiant Operations International (Pty) Ltd in conjunction with DesSoft. 

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