Archive for December, 2011

Final Vision

Posted December 31, 2011 By Fletcher Groves

December 31, 2011
The Final Vision of the Exalted Lord
Matthew 28: 16-20


By His Ascension, our Lord raises Himself to glory, He becomes omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.

All the splendid power, so circumscribed in His earthly life, becomes omnipotence; all the wisdom and insight, so precious but so limited during His life on earth, becomes omniscience; all the unspeakable comfort of the presence of Jesus, so confined to a few in His earthly life, becomes omnipresence, He is with us all the days.

What kind of Lord Jesus have we? Is He the All-powerful God in our present circumstances, in our present setting? Is he the All-wise God of our thinking and our planning? Is He the Ever-present God, “closer than breathing, nearer than hands or feet”?

If He is, we know what it means to “abide under the shadow of the Almighty”.


Still Higher for His Highest, Oswald Chambers (compiled by D.W. Lambert, 1970)

Part I: The Quantum of WIP: "How much work-in-process is enough?"

Posted December 26, 2011 By Fletcher Groves

(excerpted from The Pipeline)

“Let’s talk about the amount of work-in-process that we need or should have”, said the intrepid, results-based consultant. “Recall that we said the size and capacity of a pipeline are not the same thing. Size is defined by the amount of work-in-process it carries. Capacity is the rate of throughput – or output – in relation to the size of the pipe.

“The question becomes, how much work-in-process do we need or want? The answer is, we want only what we need. We only want what we need to produce the output, we only want what we need to utilize the capacity. If we have too much work-in-process, it is size that is wasted, size we paid to have but didn’t use. On the other hand, if we don’t have enough work-in-process, it’s dangerous, because we can’t protect the capacity of the pipeline from variation and uncertainty.

“So – how much work-in-process is enough?”

“I can speak to that question”, said the CFO. “Since RB Builders has now adopted a very disciplined business model, the company pays very close attention to its Debt-to-Equity Ratio. D/E prescribes the amount of equity, which, in turn, limits the amount of debt, primarily used to fund the level of work-in-process; I suppose you could also say the D/E Ratio tells us how much equity is required for a prescribed level of debt.

“That translates into two scenarios of how much work-in-process RB Builders can have – or should have – on its Balance Sheet.

“The first scenario is what we call “Maximum WIP”. Max WIP translates into a maximum number of units RB Builders is allowed to have under construction and a ceiling on the amount that can be outstanding under the company’s construction lines of credit. The second scenario is what we call “Necessary WIP”, which is the number of homes and the associated amount of construction debt that RB Builders should have, given its current ability to utilize its production capacity, and achieve its targeted Revenue and closings.

“The difference between Max WIP and Necessary WIP is the difference between what is currently needed and what is allowed. There is another gap, and that is the gap between Necessary WIP and what we could call “Minimum WIP”. The measure of the gap between Necessary WIP and Minimum WIP is often the gap between targeted and achieved cycle times, the gap between targeted and achieved levels of productivity, the gap between targeted and achieved utilization of production capacity.

“Necessary WIP is based on current cycle time and capacity, so one of the results of an improvement in cycle time, inventory turn, capacity utilization, and productivity is a decreasing level of Necessary WIP, towards Minimum WIP – which is obviously something we want to see.”


"God with Us"

Posted December 8, 2011 By Fletcher Groves

(the intrepid, results-based consultant is the main character in both editions of The Pipeline: A Picture of Homebuilding Production©;  this entry is updated and posted on “Escape from Averageness®” every year at Christmas)

The intrepid, results-based consultant wearily settled into one of the chairs in the airport club of the airline she was flying this trip. “Oui, l’aeroport du club de la journee”, she thought to herself, looking at her watch. “Even with the weather, I should make it home without any problem.”

“Where are you headed?”, asked the man sitting in the chair beside her.


Home. Simply, home. Last week of road work this year. She was headed for a well-deserved break with her family and friends. She was looking forward to it. Her cell phone rang. It was an old friend. They talked about families, about well-being, and then about business. “How was 2011?”, he finally asked. “And – how are you, really?”

“I tell people that the fifth year of six-figure declines from personal peak income has been almost as much fun as the first four”, she laughed. It was now a tired joke. She was glad she still could laugh about it, even though she now had to count the years on her fingers to make sure it was accurate. “2011 was better than 2010; 2012 will be better still, but mostly because we are again doing more work in industry verticals outside of homebuilding.

“But, you know – in every way that really matters – I am doing very well.”

“In that case, Merry Christmas”, he said.

“Same to you”.

Her mind turned away from work. She thought about Christmas. She wondered what the tiny town of Bethlehem must have been like, so long ago. She thought about the young mother and father-to-be, who had made the trip with few resources, facing an uncertain future. She thought about their now new-born son. To everyone else, he was just another faceless child born in an insignificant city, into a world ruled by the Roman Empire.

She considered the grace, love, and mercy of the Creator of the universe, the Author of all that is good. She thought about the words of the apostle Paul, buried deep in his first letter to the small group of believers in Corinth, describing faith, hope, and love, the principles of the grace she now pondered.

“Thank you”, she prayed softly. “Thank you.

“Thank you for giving me a faith that looks back into history and trusts that the claims this child would one day make about Himself are true, and that every moment of time and event of history either points towards, or proceeds from, that truth.

“Thank you also for giving me hope; thank you for giving me a hope that understands eternity means never-ending, not just somewhere down-the-road; thank you for giving me a hope that looks forward from the perspective of the eternal life I have right now, but also understands that, one day, this world – with its share of both joy and pain, and varying degrees of fulfillment – will end, and I will live, constantly and eternally, in your presence.”

The intrepid, results-based consultant thought about the final point of gratitude, and considered how everyone viewed her as such a practical, in-the-moment realist.

“And, yes, thank you for giving me a love that does – and always will – sustain me, motivate me, and give me purpose and perspective, until either Christ returns, or until You call me home.”

The intrepid, results-based consultant thought about the events of that night, so long ago. There was a birth. There would later be a death and a resurrection. But, right now, her thoughts were about newness and life.

“And you shall call His name Immanuel.”

“God with us.”