January is the month of new year’s resolutions, and so many of those usually involve losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle. You know, “new year, new you” type goals, but what about your business?
If you could make one new year’s resolution for your business, what would it be?
We would recommend devoting this year to beginning the Lean journey and making your business Lean-er than ever before!
What’s the problem?
The truth is every person, every company has a limited number of resources – time, money, and talent. We are all trying to do the most with what we have. We want to provide the best customer service, increase our profit margin, and give back to the community. Unfortunately, in the fast-paced world we live in, we do not often take a step back to understand why we aren’t meeting these goals. We continuously try new approaches, applying new band-aids hoping to avoid the one incident that might make everything fall apart.
Our businesses are operating in chaos. With constant additions of temporary fixes and one-off solutions, our businesses become unnecessarily complicated, inefficient, and expensive.
What’s the cost?
Aside from your workday being a little more chaotic, what’s the real cost of this all-too-common approach to business?
Lack of visibility
Some of the hardest questions for an inefficient business to answer are: “How healthy is your business? Are you on-track or lagging behind on your goals?” As the leader of your company, you should be able to answer these questions with certainty and confidence at any moment. But, if your processes are constantly changing, and you are constantly fighting fires to keep afloat, chances are you have no clue how your company is doing. You don’t know if your operations are sustainable. You don’t know if your customers are satisfied with your product or services. You just don’t know – and, you can’t know – because you can’t see your processes, and, as a result, you can’t measure success.
Inability to improve
With this lack of visibility comes an inability to improve. If you do not know how you are doing, you can’t know what areas of your business need more attention. Maybe you suspect problem areas, but you can’t quantitatively prioritize them, based on the benefits that these changes would bring to your bottom line or the customer experience. Staying constant can be a death sentence for any company in this day and age.
Likely the biggest cost of inefficiency is missed opportunities. If all of your time, money, and talent is invested in keeping your business running, how can you look ahead at growth opportunities? Perhaps an ideal opportunity comes along, but you may not be able to invest in it properly because you haven’t done the groundwork necessary to make your business-critical processes efficient. All of your energy is sucked away by the daily, mundane challenges you face, and you have no time or energy left to let your creative juices flow. Just staying afloat is not enough for you or your business.
What’s the solution?
The good news is that there’s a better way. Lean is a simple methodology to help you understand the core problem, or root cause, of all the ailments plaguing your business. Whether it’s increased cost, late deliveries or poor customer service, Lean provides you with the tools you need to solve the problem.
The key is understanding your business processes end-to-end. You need to know how one decision to improve a process step will impact all the others. Most importantly, you need to know how these changes will impact your customer.
Furthermore, mapping out your business processes really highlights your wastes. If you’ve never been on the Lean journey, you’re probably thinking, “Waste? I don’t have any waste in my company. We only do what is needed to satisfy our customers.” But, I think you’d be surprised at how much waste actually exists.
How often do you wait on emails to be returned before moving forward? How many approvals do you have to go through to complete simple, business-critical tasks? Can you clearly articulate what your customers want and how exactly your product or service meets exactly those needs and nothing more?
Chances are at least one of those questions caused you to pause and think about what you could do better. That’s the point. Every business can be better – more efficient, more timely, more cost-effective, more customer-centric. So, take the leap today and begin your Lean journey. We promise you won’t regret it!
Are you ready to make the leap into Lean? Contact us today for a free consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org.