About

My aim is to use this site as a test bed for existing and emerging research ideas plus points of interest to me. Some of the blog stuff might be a bit raw, back-of-fag-packet or just for fun, so treat it as a bit of a scrapbook. I’ll try to refine the bits of continuing interest in the menu pages.

Just in case your interested here’s some more info about me :

Over 18 years in the Electrical Steel Industry. In order: Research, Production, Business Improvement (UK & Germany), Product Application (Germany), Customer Service, Technical Manager and Lean & Continuous Improvement Manager, with Health & Safety thrown in,  plus some project work elsewhere in Corus / Tata. I left the business at the end of May 2011.

After this I considered myself an independent researcher, house-husbanded and worked with Cardiff Business School’s “Lean Enterprise Research Centre” (LERC) with increasing frequency on research themes, the Lean Competency System, e-learning systems, client work, assignment assessment and a bit of MBA mentoring thrown in – as an associate.

I contributed to the LERC’s Shingo Award winning publication “Staying Lean – Thriving, Not Just Surviving“, Hines, Found*, Harrison & Griffiths, whilst Lean Manager at Cogent Power and started developing further research ideas with Dr. Pauline Found in 2010 and subsequently also with Dr. Donna Samuel (who has now moved into consultancy)

We collaborated on articles in the Manufacturer/Lean Management Journal (Jan 2010) and most recently for the British Academy of Management (BAM Sep 2011) on visual techniques for characterising and tracking economic & business systems, by way of an introduction to wider research themes. I’ve explored some of these ideas with Richard Winterbottom within his business, contributing to his MBA in early 2012

Since then, LERC as a tangible centre, has been disbanded by Cardiff Business School.  I have continued to work on the continuity of some LERC services from the school (LCS, E-Sensei, consultancy) either directly or indirectly, and on WRAP (physical waste reduction) projects with a local consultant (structuralchange.co.uk).

The Lean Competency System is currently undergoing a re-launch, in which I am involved. It will operate as a licenced service of Cardiff University, continuing the promotion and development of lean understanding and application in organisations through the provision of a structured lean qualifications system. There are currently over 20 LCS Accredited Organisations and more in the pipeline.

During the second half of 2012 I was priviledged to act as a judge for the Manufacturer of the Year competition, on the World Class Manufacturing Award (The Manufacturer Magazine, SayOne Media), with heavy lean-type components. Having honed down 17 or so applicants to a final six, the three of us judging, went to visit their sites around the country – new to the competition. A very worthwhile experience.

The winner of this particular award, Case New Holland (tractor manufacturer) of Basildon, also grabbed the overall prize – UK Manufacturer of the Year.

Lean Thinking or Systems Thinking ?

My views on the bounds of what we call Lean Thinking are fairly broad, and have always considered it as part of (and practiced) an overall systems approach (in which I did an MSc), rather than a narrow set of tools and techniques – which it is often portrayed as, and indeed practiced, sometimes inappropriately.

Info on Degrees etc…

BSc Mathematical Sciences (Portsmouth) Dissertation : “The Mathematical Significances of Stonehenge” 1989
MSc Systems Engineering (Cardiff), Thesis: “Human Skin Dynamics” 1992
Engineering Doctorate (EngD) “Domain Refinement Techniques for the Improvement of Grain Oriented Electrical Steels” (Cardiff) 1998

A-levels: Maths, Geography & Technical Graphics (yes, it did exist)

Dr. John Homewood (updated September 2013)

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