HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 459 : 13 May 2009

With Jeane Matenga

Herald Issue 456

Lean and efficient

Sometimes you get so caught up in the daily operations at your organisation you forget to take a step back and look at the wider picture in terms of its efficiency. Because you are comfortable and you have always done it that way there is no need for change. With an uncertain year, many organisations are starting to think lean. Doing more for less, using fewer resources and time to create the same level of output, reducing waste – look at it however you want, but this is the time to do it.

Make just enough to sell. It is hard to work out how much you should make e.g. with plates of food some days sales are up, some days its down. If you can get orders then that helps work out your output.

Sometimes you tend to do more than what you should. For instance, you go to fix someone's computer and you fix up other things as well. If these are not factored into your costs you shouldn't do it. Although, alerting them to other problems may result in another job. Also, sometimes it’s nice to do something extra for a customer especially if it doesn’t take too much of your time.

Having goods that don't sell or don't move cost you money. They occupy space that could be better used for selling things that do sell.

Reduce your error rate. Every pot of rice that you overcook or burn when making your plates of food for sale is wastage. You lose in terms of product, time and electricity. It pays to be alert while in the production process.  

In your organisation you need to constantly be asking questions.

Ask yourself is this job that I am doing now going to make money? If it’s not shift it down the priority list. Do the jobs that make money first. When you have done all you can to make money that day then look at these other jobs.

Another question you can ask yourself is am I spending more money than I should? Have I shopped around and gotten the best possible price?

A question you can ask is how much time am I spending doing rework? Am I spending too much time fixing other people’s errors? Rework is expensive.

You can also ask yourself if you are having a hard time selling certain products and services? If you are, either figure out how you can improve that product, if you can give it away at a discounted price and whether you should discontinue it.

A very important question is, is there a faster better way to do what I am doing now? Is what I am using outdated?

There are many lean-type questions that you can ask yourself. Overall though it must result in shorter delivery times, quicker sales, less stock, lower cost, reduced processing steps, less resources and a very efficient organisation.

NEXT WEEK: Redesigning your brand


Herald Issue 455 15 April
- Powering the Future
- Fiji clamp down a worry for government
- Aitutaki Community Pays Tribute to Retiring Leaders!
- Cook’s to Lose Diverse Personality to United Nations!

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