Use technology to minimize error and wastage during this time of the year
A couple was Christmas shopping. The shopping center was packed, and as the wife walked through one of the malls, she was surprised when she looked around to find that her husband was nowhere to be seen.
She was pretty upset because they had a lot to do, so she became so worried that she called him on her mobile phone to ask him where he was.
In a quiet voice, he said, “Do you remember the jewelers we went to about five years ago where you fell in love with that diamond necklace that we couldn’t afford, and I told you that I would get it for you one day?”
The wife choked up, started crying, and said, “Yes, I do remember that shop.” He replied, “Well, I’m in the bar next door.”
Here we are at that time of the year when business owners like you and I spin like a top as operations go into high gear as the seasonal demands for our products or services increase. While marketing and sales efforts have been thrown into the plan and executed throughout the year, all eyes are focused on efficiently and effectively getting our products and services out there to our customers. We increase our staff; we procure more materials. We speed up our process and operations as we want to take advantage of the season and capitalize on the situation not only to make up for the slow months but to catapult and create the momentum to a hopefully better year of business success and growth. And this is where and when we focus solely on operational efficiency.
Every time we hear the words “Operational Efficiency,” we associate it with “Streamlining” and “Cost Effectivity.” This involves eliminating redundant processes and waste and focusing on resource utilization, production, inventory management, and distribution.
Redundant processes are a waste of time and energy. For MSME’s many business owners are still doing manual work (mano-mano) on repetitive work, whereas technology and software would have done the process faster and with better accuracy. The failure to maximize resource utilization costs money. And it usually happens when business decision-makers use “Gut-Feel,” (guesswork) without having the data support to provide owners with the information to make more educated decisions in resource allocation and utilization.
Production delays and Inventory shortages murder the opportunity for the season’s access to business growth and recovery.
Because of the high traffic volume and inability to track it, the distribution and delivery challenge upset customers waiting in limbo. Our branch managers and staff get demotivated as they have to deal with upset customers.
Technology today has provided tools that can help business owners address all these challenges, and a business without it continues to grind through the processes with a waste of time, energy, and attention. In contrast, a business with the tools will outperform and outsell the company without, which brings me to another case: People. Without technology, we have to use more people to do manual work. Adding more people is not a guarantee that work efficiency will increase. As in my own experiences, adding more people leads to more complex problems, and when the ratio of work load vis-a-vis personnel requirements is out of whack, the more inefficient and idle people would be. As I often say in my leadership training, “your headcount is a measurement of your company or business’ efficiency or the lack of it.”
Technology also reveals areas that need correction, adjustments, or tweaking. Without this, defects become part of the normal process, and they cause wastages and suck up resources that would have been allocated for more profitable endeavors.
Refrain from allowing defects and wastage to become “normal and acceptable” in your operation. If we can minimize error and wastage, our profitability potential automatically increases by default.
We are familiar with the old cliche that says: “The greatest room in the world is the room for improvement.” I totally agree. But now you have tools to do so.
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