May 31, 2022

Small Improvements Every Day will Make a Big Difference in your Business

By Paul Daniels

You don’t want to wait until your business slows down or you lose an employee to start looking for ways to make your company more productive. In today’s market, with inflation, gas prices soaring and shortages nibbling away at your bottom line, it’s important to look for ways to streamline your operations. A lot of companies talk about continuous improvement; the successful ones make it part of their daily routine.

By walking your business each day and listening to your employees you’ll find small improvements that are easy to implement and will add up over time. Habits like calling customers the day before to confirm arrival times so they’re ready for you or confirming that orders are going to ship on schedule and complete are small ways to save time and money.

Many years ago, one of our major vendors wanted to bring a group in to review our manufacturing processes to help make us more efficient. Translated, “they wanted a price reduction.” Our first reaction was that we knew our business and were sure that we were doing everything right. However, a time study they did found that by pushing a few fabrication stations closer and removing some tables where we placed products between processing stations improved productivity. This enabled us to increase production substantially without adding any more people to the process.

It seems we all count our steps these days, but if you can reduce steps in many parts of your business it will pay off. You may have added project managers or customer service reps. Have you added an extra printer or fax machine to the other end of the office, so they don’t have as far to walk? Have you watched your crew load a truck? Do they bring the material out to the truck first and then load the racks or do they bring the product out and put it directly on the rack? Are you always moving product around the plant? Spend some time watching and talking to your crew. What suggestions do they have to make their jobs easier? Sometimes we do things because “That’s how we’ve always done it.”

The best companies are constantly rethinking their business. As you grow don’t be afraid to outgrow old habits and look for better ways to stay competitive.