I have met with several business owners and executives as of late, all of whom have asked how to best improve efficiency. With economies on the rebound, and a hesitation to hire and commit to long-term overhead, organizations are seeking ways to continue to squeeze value from existing structures and teams.
Here are the 3 tips that I have most frequently provided:
1. Map the process: Existing processes have a way of becoming burdensome with Band-Aids and “on the fly” changes which are never tested against the intent of the entire process. If you can see the process visually, it makes inefficiency and waste all the more prevalent.
2. Understand value: Efforts must be continuously focused on providing value, to either the customer or business. Anything additional is waste. Define the customer value (i.e. what the customer will pay for) and business value (i.e. that which is required to operate the business) and then test existing processes to determine if they are truly value added.
3. Communicate: Too many organizations, large or small, work in a vacuum. The left hand does not know (or often care) about what the right hand is doing. Communication to team members and employees and help them to better understands the importance to their contribution to the business. If the team leader in a Dragon Boat does not call out instructions at precisely the right times, the rowers are out of synch and the boat speed slows tremendously. Communication aligns direction and builds speed.
Look at your existing business and ask yourself, how can I get more with less? Applying these fundamental steps will deliver significant strides to increasing efficiency and improving profitability.
© Shawn Casemore 2012. All rights reserved.