In my visits to our clients, there is an ongoing trend that over the last few years seems to have become more prevalent than ever. The introduction of new technologies, the complication of OEM requirements, the increased demands from customers, and the lack of Manager training all seem to be contributing to this as well. What is it? Well its complexity in our processes. Now don’t get me wrong! Our business is an extremely complex system with many moving parts. What I find, however, is how much more complex we make it over time. I have stepped into stores only to find process after process, one stacked on top of the other, that ultimately do not get followed or if followed are only hindering production instead of increasing it. In many instances I have asked why we have that particular process in place only to find out that no one really knows. The question then becomes; “Why do you do, what you do, the way you do it?”
This is a complex question in itself. Maybe some element of the original designed process didn’t work so we designed a second process to correct that element. Maybe it was a process that the previous manager had put in place and we just never changed it. Maybe we just don’t know how else to do it.
So, what is the solution? How do you get to the core of the concern? What do we do about it?
First step is to ask the question!!! Most of the time we don’t even ask why, we just do it. We need to ask this question of every process that we have.
The next step is to “KISS”. No, not the smooching type of kiss. KEEP IT SIMPLE, SILLY is still the best medicine. Look at the process and determine if you are doing it the simplest way possible or if there is anything in the process that is not needed.
The third step is to ask, “What do we accomplish out of performing this process?” At one store they just had a production meeting for the sake of talking. There was no outcome to this meeting. But they had been doing it so long that they just kept having it.
The fourth step is to get input from your staff that is involved with the process. They are the ones that are performing it and will know best what works and what doesn’t.
And last but not least, take action!!! Do something with the information. If nothing has to be changed then write it down. If anything has to be changed, then change it.
Process changes and implementation can be scary. Most managers don’t want to open that “can of worms”. We specialize in making those changes. For more tips on making process changes, and lots of other great tips for your department, give us a call. We are here to help!
Written by Julian Armijo