Studied mathematics and statistics at University of Wales, inspired by an
interest in measuring and predicting sport performance including my own
involvement in athletics, swimming and betting on horses.
Became the first OR/statistican to be employed in the production end of Lever
Bros. (Unilever Group) in 1962. Applications included:
- Design of measurement systems and indices for use
in monitoring and audit.
- Understanding process variability, and explaining
product quality drivers.
- A systems view of the total supply chain; we
produced most of our own crises.
- Development of a ‘new approach to management’ based
on low tech real-time information and realignment of communication flows;
application to three business divisions produced dramatic and unforeseen
results - ‘look no hands’, everybody is happy except for the accountants.
Then a top consultancy company was hired using a dumb approach, so I left in
Stafford’s Decision and Control arrived during my resignation period. WOW.
There was a science behind what I had been doing - cybernetics. I had been
redesigning homeostatic loops using statistical filters and had produced
algedonic systems, but from first principles.
I joined Liverpool Polytechnic (now Liverpool John Moores University) with
the aim of demonstrating science in action rather than just a theoretical
approach to stats /OR. I created an OR Group that serviced courses across the
whole Polytechnic. The Group developed on the basis of an integrated approach to
professional practice, research and education delivery.
A high proportion of my teaching became geared to facilitating people in the
use Stafford’s ideas but didn’t meet the maestro until 1980. I had the privilege
of hugging, listening, eating, drinking and laughing with him for over 20 years.
During this time the gang at JMU supported and managed a number of events for
Stafford; the Masterclass, the Requiem exhibition, Festschrift presentation,
honorary awards, workshops, video tape products and courses.
After taking early retirement from JMU and starting a new business, applying
my horse racing decision support system has become more important in increasing
my freedom to help people on the basis of their need rather than my income.
My current interests include:
- Collating the principles that Stafford used to
produce his insights (For example, in ‘I am the Emperor – and I Want
Dumplings’ Stafford says ‘I have taught myself how to see’),
- Managing the woodland at home with the guidance of
the Forestry Commission for Wales,
- and trying to find the winner of the next horse