The past week has seen some unprecedented events and I hope that you, your families and employees are doing well.
A colleague of mine, Michael Trezza, CEO of Lithyem, passed along the attached Harvard Business Review article from March 2010 which discusses various strategies businesses have used to weather prior downturns. (see notated article below)
As an “Operations Guy”, I appreciated the focus in the article on operational efficiency. Driving waste out of processes is always a good thing. However, there is a larger theme at work too.
Managers everywhere struggle with the challenge of getting sucked into the day-to-day firefight and end up spending too much time working IN the business instead of ON the business. Now, with the pace of work slowing down for many businesses, is the perfect time to take a hard look at opportunities to improve processes and your operations.
Here are three tips to consider for working ON your business while adhering to protocols for Social Distancing:
- Value Stream Mapping: How does value flow through your business when viewed through the Customer’s eye? Use Post-It notes or 3×5 cards to capture each step in the process and map them out on a white board. If your team is working remotely, using Vizio or PowerPoint to map out and share the process via a web conference is a perfect alternative.
- 5S (Sort, Sweep, Simplify, Standardize, Sustain): Think of Spring Cleaning for your business. Are there old files that can be tossed or shredded? Is there a conference room you’ve always wanted to paint? In a manufacturing environment, is there scrap, rework or obsolete items that can now be addressed? Follow the process on the production floor, clean it up and get it organized.
- Physical Inventory: Many businesses struggle with inventory accuracy. With March being the end of the First Quarter, why not perform a Physical Inventory? Teams of two can easily practice Social Distancing while they spread out through the Warehouse. Obtaining an accurate inventory count will put you one step ahead in planning the next steps to your recovery.
The decisions we make now will set the course for our businesses when the inevitable rebound happens. With the extra time not dealing with bumper-to-bumper traffic, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read this article and think of how you can keep your Team engaged and productive.
The Hampton Group has a great network of resources through our connection with ProVisors and other professional associations, so if you have any questions about navigating these uncertain times, feel free to reach out and we will connect you with the appropriate resource. As experts in Strategy Execution Management and Operational Excellence, we are here to support you with short-term horsepower to punch through any challenges you may encounter.
We are following the CDC and California Governor’s recommendations of Social Distancing and Safer at Home so web conferences and phone calls will replace onsite visits for now.
To your continued success!