No business owner likes to think that inefficiencies exist in his or her business, but the truth is companies of all sizes could benefit from becoming more efficient. Rather than feel discouraged by this, consider it a challenge to always be looking for ways to improve processes, people, and equipment. No matter how well you feel your company is performing today, there’s always room for improvement. Below are five things you can do to start tackling inefficiency.
Start by Taking Inventory of What Works and What Doesn’t
You can’t make improvements when you’re not aware of any problems. Even if it seems a little painful, you need to be willing to look at employees, business processes, and equipment to determine who and what requires improvements. It’s also important to give the proper people credit for things that are going well. While it’s essential to conduct such internal inventories often, it may feel frustrating because it leaves you unable to complete other business tasks. If so, remind yourself that making improvements now will free up more of your time later.
Be Sure to Ask Each Team for Feedback
One of the best ways to learn about inefficiencies and possible improvements you can make is to survey several employees as well as leadership from every team in your organization. As you do so, make sure you let them know that they are free to share both positive and negative feedback without upsetting you. If you cut them off or get defensive, they will be very reluctant to share potentially helpful feedback in the future. Keep in mind, too, that engaged employees are happier and more committed to the organization.
While saving thousands of dollars due to process improvements would be nice, it isn’t realistic right off the bat. Instead, aim for small challenges to inefficiencies such as eliminating rework or saving a few dollars in shipping costs. They can all add up to big savings. Be sure to point these out to workers so they can take pride in the process of improving inefficiency as well.
Think Through a Change Before Implementing It
In the effort to identify and eliminate inefficiency, you may start making random changes without thinking of how they will affect individual employees and the company overall. That’s why it’s important not to make changes just for the sake of saying that you did so. You should always understand why you’re implementing a change, as should those whom it directly affects.
Keep a Mindset of Continuous Improvement
Tackling inefficiency is as much of a mindset as it is putting plans into action. Once you see progress in one area, don’t assume that everything is fine. A commitment to continuous improvement means that you’re always looking for ways to do things better and that you’re open to hearing the suggestions of others on how to make this happen.
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