Welcome to my blog for all things related to business quality (processes, systems and ways of working), products and product quality, manufacturing and operations management.

This blog is a mixture of real-world experience, ideas, comments and observations that I hope you'll find interesting.



When to pay bonuses

Staff bonus payments are back in the news again today, and it seems to me that many of the companies who are attracting bad press are missing the point of bonuses. Performance-related pay is not a bad idea, although it's by no means the best instrument for incentivising staff. Nonetheless, many of the companies that […]


Interesting article on the BBC website today about decision-making: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7905536.stm It confirms what I have heard said for some time, namely that decisions are made by using emotions then justified (or adjusted) by using logic. As the article says, it's not that emotional decision-making is better, or logical decision-making is better, it's the combination of […]

Just talk to us!

I have just returned from a short trip via Geneva that reminded me how infuriating air travel can be. On the way out, with about twenty minutes to go to touchdown, the pilot opened up the public address system and said “not good news I'm afraid, the runway at Geneva is shut – we don't know […]

Over-cutting and the four month rule

In the current economic climate jobs seem to be disappearing at an alarming rate. I'm old enough to have lived through many recessions but this one seems to be particularly vicious – although the graphs that we get shown in in the media indicate that it is merely typical in terms of severity, it doesn't feel […]

Betting on dead certs

In these turbulent times it is not surprising that people want to reduce risk, the venture capital community included. I was speaking with an old friend the other day; he runs a start-up electronics company and he told me that his investors were becoming increasingly selective about where they deployed their limited funds. It isn't that […]

Surviving the Credit Crunch

The BBC’s Political Editor, Nick Robinson, gave this simple and concise explanation of why so many companies are in difficulty: “The problem they face – the real reason they are having to shut down or make people redundant – is that they simply can’t get the credit they need from the banks”. (12 January 2009, […]

Darwin and the Agile Enterprise

The phrase ‘survival of the fittest’ was used by Charles Darwin to explain his theories of Natural Selection (after it had been coined by the British economist Herbert Spencer). ‘Fittest’ in this context means ‘best adapted to its environment’**.   Darwin explained that it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the […]

Why do we stop blogging?

I guess it's one of those things that you need to be methodical about and do daily – or at least weekly – to keep in the habit. As the astute reader will notice I've taken a long leave of absence. Sorry about that! Much has happened in the world of Quality and Products. I […]

Firmware updates – the D'oh moment

In the middle of trying to solve interesting technical problems, do you ever find that you miss the obvious? My broadband connection has been getting unreliable over the last few weeks. I guessed it was the ADSL modem/router as a quick power-off / power-on invariably restored the connection. Then a few days ago I couldn't […]

Choice in the high street

So 'tis the season to be merry and to spend rather more than we might sensibly do in the high street. It also seems to be the season for electrical appliances to go wrong. In the course of shopping for both it struck me that despite being a nation of shopkeepers there's actually very little […]