"We have to cut cost!"
If we all had a dollar for every time we were in front of a board or manager and heard them say that. Most companies look at reducing staff right way, some looking at cutting product lines. Very few look at or ask the question "are we working more efficient?"
It may take some time to really break it down but usually taking a look at your overall processes in the company you can usually find more efficient ways to operate. Efficiency can help a company in several different ways; it can speed up process and flow of operations, while improving quality, all while lowering cost of operations.
Sounds easy right? I was brought into a company one time and was told "Our warehouses are a mess and I just wanted you to fix them." Well in my mind I was thinking this shouldn't be a problem I've worked in logistics and supply chain this should be a walk in the park. I went in with an open mind that it really couldn't be as bad as they said it was and the reality is it was worse.
First you have to get to the root of the problem. I started asking the employees in the warehouse house what their thoughts were and the most common answer was "that's just how we've always done it." I started first with organizing the warehouse to make it flow and to clean it up so that you could actually find what you are looking for when pulling orders.
The organizing was underway and right away we could tell a difference in people pulling order instead of 15 minutes to find a product we were down to 5-10 minutes. Doesn't sound like a whole lot, but when you are pulling 120-150 plus orders a day it adds up quickly.
Long story short there is over the course of two months of just looking at more efficient ways to run the warehouse we were able to cut about twenty hours a week off payroll, orders where actually being pulled correctly and product was able to be found which in turn meant service to customers was increased as well.
Here is where the kicker is though, I honestly don't believe if they brought someone from the outside in to look at the problem they would have been able to make those changes and here is why. We are creatures of habits and when employees or companies get in habits its hard to break them of those habits. Implementing the new process was hard and the key to that was getting everyone to see the end result/product. Customers were happier, employees less stressed, and over all the company was operating faster, all while saving money.
If you believe your company can be operating more efficient and don't quite know where to start please feel free to reach out to me. Shannon@shepherdsconsultinggroup.com or 717-756-5481