Mini-Course Day 8: “Fast Start to Systems Thinking”
The speed of a system or process is the total elapsed time it takes to go through one system cycle—the first step to the last step—including idle time. System speed has very little to do with how fast employees work and much more to do with eliminating wasted time.
Studies show that the actual time required to produce a product or deliver a service is about 5% of the total elapsed time. For example, a printer tells you that it will be a week before your job is finished. However, it only takes him two hours to do the actual preparation and printing. The rest of the time your job is sitting around, waiting to be worked on. Improving process speed will put money into your pocket!
|“Every 25% reduction in elapsed process time will double productivity and reduce costs by 20%” (George Stalk, “Competing Against Time”).|
Increase System Speed and Efficiency
There are many ways to improve process efficiency, and they apply to all of your business functions—marketing and sales, operations, financial, human resource, and so forth. Here are a few ways to crank up the speed:
- Create a smooth-running system with no unnecessary steps and little or no idle time between steps. As much as possible, synchronize operations with sales orders—avoid overproduction and inventory buildup.
- Improve your quality to reduce the wasted time on rework, repairs, and reprocessing. Don’t accumulate defects for later handling. Stop the process if necessary and fix the problem before continuing.
- Look for bottlenecks in the process and make changes to improve the weak link in the chain of tasks. Your system is only as fast as the slowest point! Bottlenecks kill system performance and throughput.
- Reduce downtime due to poor planning and stop-start work-flow as people switch between processes. When people have shifting assignments from multitasking, being “spread too thin,” or “wearing too many hats,” system velocity and momentum are diminished. Operator-error increases and performance is hard to measure.
- Decrease lead-time for your customers by reducing idle time and work-in-process build-up between steps. You can also decrease lead-time by increasing your completion rate—more units per hour, day, or week. Shorter lead-times reduce problems and increase sales capacity, billing cycles, and customer loyalty.
- Simplify where possible. Lessen complexity, customization, and exceptions in products and services. Reduce the physical path, clutter, barriers, and distractions. Eliminate excessive employee discretion, caused by inadequate policies or procedures.
- Elevate employee performance with training, accountability, performance standards, reporting, recognition, and incentive. Provide a safe and pleasurable work environment with good communication systems.
- Measure and monitor system speed and quality; use this feedback to make necessary improvements that keep performance levels high.
Brian Tracy, business consultant, teaches, “Continuous practice of a key skill (system) reduces the time required to perform the task and increases the output achieved” (“100 Business Laws”). Speed improves when the same people do the same things repeatedly, when they get really good at their job. Employee turnover takes a heavy toll on productivity.
System Efficiency Pays Off
An efficient process offers a number of benefits. It creates higher employee productivity and work satisfaction, increased capacity for sales, faster invoicing and cash flow cycles, happier customers who will buy again, and overall lower costs.
The principles of speed are varied and covered in-depth in my eCourse, “Box Theory™: Double Your Profit with High-Performance Systems and Processes.” You will learn about Process Cycle Efficiency, The Theory of Constraints, Lean Thinking, and other methods for creating efficient systems and processes, and a high-performance organization.
By applying the principles of speed, you can expect your labor costs to go down and output to go up. By shifting just one system in your company out of low gear, you will quickly recover the cost of owning the totally awesome Box Theory™ Gold software.
As I said, “speed pays,” and in this case, a speedy decision to own Box Theory™ Software will pay off big-time! Go get it now, then get on the learning-fast-track at Box Theory™ Business Systems Academy. In no time, you will become an expert!
Tomorrow we will talk about the strategy that makes everything work—that puts you on track and keeps you on track. I am continually amazed at how many business owners don’t get it!
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Mini-Course, “Fast-Start to Systems Thinking”