I think we can all agree that if we only had more time…..we could get so much more done. We could accomplish all the projects we want and focus on all the different areas where we want to have impact. If we only had more time we could make that much more of a difference.
The truth is however, we are all stuck with the same clock, the same calendar. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year is all we have to accomplish our goals and get our objectives met. So how do we move our results to the next level, how do we continue to compete in this world where where competition keeps moving the bar. Since more time can not be manufactured, our strategy needs to be to improve productivity, ie more widgets or results in the same amount of time. It needs to be about getting more done in less time, without sacrificing quality or creating un-managed risk.
Improving productivity is not about doing more things, its really about doing less things more efficiently. If we want to generate more results in less time, we need to delegate/allocate/eliminate the tasks/functions/operations that are either not bringing value to the process, or are not being performed efficiently. The Lean approach with its focus on the systematic elimination of waste and wasteful activity is really what this is all about.
I was reminded about the importance of time, when I was following up with a client where we had recently started up our services. I was proud of our early results, we had identified and implemented several process improvements with directly measurable savings. When following up however these results were eclipsed by where she had attached far more value. Time. She was amazed by how little of her time or her staff’s time was required to support our start-up. By employing defined processes, utilizing specialized expertise and implementing a number of best practices tools, our service started up quickly and efficiently. This non-core aspect of their manufacturing process was in control and we had quickly moved into process improvement mode just by implementing a lead metrics approach to this aspect of their operation.
It was an excellent reminder that step change productivity improvement can come from identifying the aspects of the operation where inefficiencies are identified due to lack of process or expertise. The challenge in most cases however is the identification of that opportunity. Typically lack of expertise in execution is the result of lack of expertise in identification! IE: “If we knew we had a problem we would be working to fix it. Its the problems we don’t know we have that scare me!
We have all heard the phrase:
“The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we do not recognize.” – Shigeo Shingo
So….what should we be spending our time on when relentless Innovation and Productivity improvement has to be part of our daily life. It really comes down to wisdom, the wisdom to recognize the areas where our unique expertise, skills and resources are best aligned with innovation and productivity improvement while also recognizing when it makes sense to bring in specialized expertise for areas where we are not aligned.
So instead of wishing for more time, lets focus on making the best use of our time by sticking to our highest value activities….the crossover point between our unique skills, expertise and results. By building a team of integrated high value members, productivity soars with time left over!
The Hidden Cost Audit is a defined process we use to identify waste and wasteful activity associated with how industrial fluids are selected, managed, maintained and disposed of. Running in parallel with the manufacturing process, fluid condition can be extremely dynamic, as a result of its dynamic nature, most facilities have developed wasteful activities throughout the years. This audit focuses on identifying and then quantifying the various forms of waste that are driving costs in the wrong direction.