Vision is not reality. Reality is a mess of tasks and processes that aren’t done when they should be and don’t work as well as they should
How do you make everything smooth so that defects are easy to fix and rarely happen?
Entrepreneurs and new business owners have two big problems when it comes to their operations. They are building the business from scratch and they are often growing quickly.
A lot of the time you do what you need to, just enough, to solve the immediate problem and put a fire out. Issues never really get fixed, they just get pushed further down the road. The hope is that by doing just enough now life becomes a little bit better, a little bit easier.
Operations strategy is all about looking at how your business delivers value. It is how you staff do their jobs to transform resources that you sell to customers.
There are lots of good ways of delivering what the customer wants. There are a lot more bad ways. Take for example making nails. You could have a man making nails. Apparently a man making nails with a hammer can make about 20 a day. That’s why they were so expensive 500 years ago. Alternatively you can build a factory and fill it with. Machines. The same man can now make 50,000 nails a day.
Which approach do you take if you want 500 or 5,000 nails made? Can you get your man working harder and faster? Can you use some manual labour and some machines? Do you have the capital to build a factory which only uses 10% of its capacity?
Performance Improvement is Critical
Operations strategy is all about working out how to improve your performance. It can mean
- Do more with less
- Do more faster
- Do more cheaper
- Do better quality
- Make fewer errors
It’s rarely enough to say I want to improve sales or profit margin. Those are big picture goals. Operations strategy is often about the nuts and bolts of your business. It is about identifying the small goals that will enable you to reach the big goals.
I want to increase sales
How do you do that?
By people recommending my products
Why do they do that?
Because they are great products
Why are they great products?
Because they always work
Why do they always work
Because they have no defects
Why do they have no defects?
Because the manufacturing process is always correct
Why is the manufacturing process always correct?
Because we check everything that we make.
When we look at that conversation we can see that product quality is really important. However we achieve product quality in a really expensive way. We check everything. Operations strategy then starts asking “How many items should we check?” “What should we check on each item?” “How often should we check?”
Then we work out how to do it better, cheaper and faster. With a quality issue like this we can often reduce inspection costs by 80% and manufacturing costs by a significant amount (it varies too much across industries to give a specific figure)
- Kaizen Case Study – Using the power of continuous improvement to transform the performance of a fast growing startup
- IT Project Rollout Case Study – A startup needed new technology to step up theirs business performance and I delivered
- Process Optimisation Case Study – Improving the customer experience for a major sporting brand
Delivering Operational Improvement
We start with a clear goal. What is the outcome that we are looking to achieve. The next step is often to ignore the goal and start looking at the organisational culture. Will staff be compliant as we start to change the way that we do things? Are they going to be able to transition from a state where they do what they are told, often badly, to a state where they are able to drive the improvement process themselves?
Often business owners are sceptical here. Why will my staff change? The thing is all the changes that we want to make to your business depend on their compliance and engagement. If they don’t care improvements happen at a slow rate.
So we get the team on board and empower them to focus on achieving the goals that you have set. Often it works out that they know what to do. They know how to make everything better. What holds them back is a perception that change is forbidden, that everything is the way that you want it and you will be upset if they change anything. They aren’t prepared to take risks and get things wrong.
We change all this, build a foundation of people committed to improving your business, and then we can rack up thousands of small changes. Often changes will improve a process by 1-2%. Frequently we can find several of these in the company each day. The result is the productivity can increase hugely over a period as short as a couple of months.
The result is that you then have a far more productive and efficient organisation that drives sales, growth and customer satisfaction
Set up a call and let’s get started.