Hidden Gold: Mining the inexhaustible supply of golden opportunities in every organisation


Hidden Gold: Mining the inexhaustible supply of golden opportunities in every organisation


Every organisation has an inexhaustible supply of golden opportunities waiting to be unearthed. In simple, practical and easy-to-follow terms, the authors show you how to find the Hidden Gold in your organisation.

Golden Opportunities realized…

  • Availability of computer service increased from 80% to 99-100%, without major expenditure
  • Time to produce reports reduced from 8-11 weeks to 11 days (Absolutely Impossible” a senior manager said just before the start of the project)
  • Staff turnover reduced from 59% to 10-12% per year, saving millions of dollars
  • Expenditure of $2,000,000 for new systems avoided
  • Rework reduced from 30% to 5% of total work, in just 2 weeks
  • Delivery times reduced from eight days to overnight.
  • Unnecessary expenditure of $5,000 a month identified and eliminated in four hours of team work
  • Productivity increased by 400 person-hours/day by eliminating unnecessary work with commensurate increase in job satisfaction and decrease overtime costs.
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These are just some of the results achieved using the methods explained in this book. 

Core Chapters are : 
Part 1  Concept and principles of Continuous Improvement

  • Introduction to Continuous Improvement
  • Principle: Focus on Customers
  • Principle: Focus on Processes
  • Principle: Measurement and Variation
  • Principle: Focus on people
  • Principle: Leadership Focus

Part 2 – A practical Eight Step cycle for Mining Hidden Gold

  • An Eight-step Approach based on the PDSA Cycle (Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle)
  • Step 1: Identifying an Improvement Activity
  • Step 2: Analysing the Current Process
  • Step 3: Determining Causes of Variation
  • Step 4. Developing Potential Solutions
  • Step 5: Implementing the most Effective Solution
  • Step 6: Study the Results
  • Step 7: Lock in the Process Improvements
  • Step 8: Finalise the Activity and Re-focus
  • Let’s get Practical

Part 3 – “Mission Impossible” 

  • A serious Case Study

Part 4. A selection of Tools and Techniques for Process Improvement

  • A brief introduction to Deliberate Creative Thinking
  • Generating Ideas
  • Organising Ideas
  • Choosing and Deciding
  • Flowcharting – a Tool for Process Analysis
  • The need for Data and how to collect it
  • Charts for turning Data into Information
  • Basic Statistics
  • Problem Solving Tools
  • Appendix – Continuous Improvement and Quality Standards

Every organisation has a potentially inexhaustible supply of golden opportunities to improve its processes and generally enhance its economic efficiency. The trouble is that these opportunities are like gold: well hidden and difficult to mine.

Occasionally they turn up as convenient nuggets; other times it’s a long, hard accumulation of gold dust. But in every case, as with gold, these are opportunities to increase value. All you need are the eyes to see them and the tools to mine them.

Hidden Gold! provides both. It is a highly readable book on a proven approach to bringing opportunities out of hiding and turning them into demonstrable bottom-line improvements. Hidden Gold! is based on the authors' many years of hands-on experience in helping organisations in a wide cross-section of industries achieve spectacular improvements.

Examples given in the book include a reduction of rework from 30 per cent to five per cent in just two weeks of teamwork, and improving a delivery process to reduce delivery times from eight days to overnight.

Underpinning the Hidden Gold! approach is the ISO 9000 principle that understanding processes is the key to creating a continuous improvement environment. The book is divided into four parts.

Part One lays the foundations, with a clearly articulated and coherent presentation of the concepts of continuous improvement.

Part Two guides us through a commonsense methodology, based on practical experience in a variety of environments. There is plenty of detail, with examples, comments, anecdotes and suggested activities.

Part Three is a detailed case study describing a real multi-million dollar project carried out using the Hidden Gold! approach. This is a learning experience in itself and admirably complements the theory. To make the book a self-contained reference,

Part Four introduces many of the tools and techniques suggested for each step of the improvement process, and offers interesting and innovative approaches.

The authors, Bill Jarrard and Jo Kruithof, have been in the business of encouraging quality and continuous improvement for about 15 years. Both individually and as a team, they have worked with a variety of organisations, large and small, from the shopfloor to the highest level of management.

In Hidden Gold! they have brought together their collective experience in a book that describes how improvement opportunities, large and small, can be identified and exploited.

In this book, they have produced a stimulating and practical guide to help everyone, at any level in any organisation, to find and realise their improvement opportunities.

Mr Howard Paul is General Manager of Standards Australia Publishing.