This week’s focus: For the past 12 months we’ve had a slight leak in our conservatory. We’ve used a mixture of towels and pans to catch the drops and protect the floor and furniture. But the recent warm weather has brought storms that our ‘make do’ approach was unable to manage.

Organisations have their own equivalent of our towels, pans and buckets. At one of my clients, for example, each finished product is manually checked to ensure that there are no quality problems. Similarly, at a retail client, some of the company’s store managers like to hold relatively high levels of stock in their ‘back shops’ just in case they have a high volume of demand and the supply chain fails to deliver.

As with my buckets, these factory and store managers are ‘making do’. They are learning to live with the situation, but they are failing to sort out the fundamental issues – quality problems and poor supply management – that would prevent the problems from happening.

For us, enough is enough, and by the time you read this edition our builder will be on the roof fixing the leaks. Where are you learning to live with an operational problem and ‘making do’ when you should be fixing the issue at source?

Off the record: Fixing A Hole by The Beatles

I’m fixing a hole where the rain gets in

And stops my mind from wandering

Where it will go

© Stuart Cross 2013. All rights reserved.