We have a fascination with big bets, wholesale system change, outsourcing deals, new facilities. We are rewarded for thinking strategically and pulling the big leavers; consequently we are always looking for silver bullets, the one change that will make everything more efficient.
All operations are big machines that deal with materials, customers, employees and products. They are complicated and they are bespoke, no two are the same. Even factories that make exactly the same product in different locations have differences:
– Market demand is different
– Labour relations are different
– Water hardness is different
– Access routes are different…
The same is true for call centres, field service centres, hotels, retail outlets, warehouses, they are all different.
Whilst there are best practices that can and should be applied they only take you so far, then the devil is in the detail:
– The tension of the wrapping material
– The call routing pattern
– The way customers queue at the serving counter
The way to really save money and improve your processes is to go to the shop floor and understand these details. Understand what doesn’t work as well as it could, what is over specified, where the bottlenecks are and then go and fix the myriad of issues. The better your operation works the better service it will deliver and the less it will cost.
Cost saving is simply about ironing out the details.
Image by eschipul