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Operational Research

Looking forward to the OR Society’s Conference #OR56 this week

OR Society logoI shall be attending the OR Society Conference OR56 this week where I will be presenting two papers and facilitating at least one of the “Making an Impact” sessions.

My two papers, being presented in the Third Sector Stream, are:

  1. Improving Processes and revealing hidden data
  2. A Tool to help Dog Breeders – co-presented with Sophie Carr

Paper 1: This is a case study on a process improvement project which discusses the “hidden data” which was unearthed from a CRM system.  It will also present some “quick and dirty” data collection approaches that gave the organisation unique insights into customers’ perceptions and the sources of waste and delay in process performance.  It will present some of the simple solutions adopted to improve and manage the process.

Paper 2: There are a growing number of DNA tests to help dog breeders identify potential breeding pairs that could be affected by inherited diseases.  In particular, Miniature Wirehaired Dachshunds are known to suffer from a form of Epilepsy called Lafora Disease.  Whilst there are two different tests available to determine if a Dachshund carries the autosomal recessive mutation, not every dog is tested.  Consequently this creates 4 populations: tested; untested; clinically affected (i.e. showing symptoms) and clinically not affected.  What was required was a simple, robust approach to support informed decisions about which pairs of dogs could breed whilst minimising the number of puppies with Lafora disease.  As part of an OR Pro bono project an Excel tool was developed to evaluate the risk factors associated with the mutation status of DNA tested and untested dogs.  The results of the project will be used as part of an education programme to help breeders understand why DNA testing for Lafora Disease is so important.  This presentation will explain the maths and probability theory that lies behind this problem and show how the tool was developed.

I’ll be facilitating one of the Making an Impact (MAI) workshops with Sophie Carr and Andrew Wrigley where we’ll be leading discussions on “real world” stakeholder management in projects.  We’ll be looking at three case study examples and helping the participants to identify ways to improve the way they manage the people aspects of their projects.

I may also be facilitating another MAI session: What do you mean “Lean” – Bandwagon or Benefit?

So many organisations these days claim to “have done Lean”, “be Lean” or “doing Lean”, but what does that actually mean?  I’m aiming to help attendees:

  • Find out where Lean came from and why it is relevant not just in the manufacturing sector
  • Understand key Lean concepts such as Value, Waste and Flow
  • Have a go at using some Lean tools and techniques (e.g. Value Stream Mapping, 7 Wastes Process Walk-through)
  • See what tools and techniques are in the Lean toolkit
  • Understand why Lean is really all about engaging people in improvement (and not about tools)
  • Be able to spot opportunities to apply Lean Thinking, back at work

I will be tweeting throughout the conference (#OR56) and will share my presentations via my Slideshare channel after the conference.

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