Articles for April 2014

The Business Calendar

Every living being has an internal clock that wants to regulate its habitual patterns. It’s called the circadian rhythm. We humans are much healthier when we allow our circadian rhythms to regulate how we live each day. Usually, we use use artificial means to awaken us earlier (e.g. alarm clocks) and stay up later (e.g. stimulants) which serves to make our bodies work less effectively because we have thrown them out-of-rhythm.

Many animals also have a circadian-like calendar that helps them manage from one year to the next. Their bodies read the changing seasons and tell them to gather food, go into hibernation, and awaken the next year. Enterprises also develop a natural annual rhythm that I call the Business Calendar.

Every Enterprise should develop, publish, and understand its business calendar. For most Enterprises, the calendar should focus on the Production Schedule. Production Schedules are easy for manufacturing concerns because that’s what they use to run the shop. They might not be so easy for service concerns because they view things more like a job shop than as a factory shop.  However, recognizing your Enterprise’s ability to be distracted by non-production work is very important regardless of the type of business in which you engage.

The Business Calendar should consider the following factors:

  • The capacity of each department to accept non-production support work through out the year.  This should be measured against the permanent staffing levels approved for each department.
  • The time boxes imposed by mandatory retooling work.  Retooling is work that must be completed to allow the factory process to handle requirements stemming from law, regulation, or priority changes.  This work generally has a firm date for when it must be completed and added to the factory process.
  • The time boxes imposed by peak processing loads when factory process stability is paramount.  It is generally not a good idea to destabilize your factory process during peak season.  You must also make sure you have a matching non-production environment in which you can troubleshoot problems in production.