Tag Archives: waste

Productivity Improvement for Entrepreneurs (and Everybody Else Really)

The 3 Factors That are Limiting Your Productivity by Evan Carmichael

Elimination is at the core of every successful business. You have to focus on what you’re really good [at], what drives your business forward, and what you’re legally required to do in order to stay in business. Everything else should be eliminated.

Just because everyone else does it or because you’ve always done it that way, it doesn’t mean you have to continue doing it.

The order of Eliminate, Automate, Delegate is very important.

Eliminate is first. You don’t want to automate or delegate something that can be eliminated because it’s a non-productive task. Automate is next. You don’t want to delegate something that can be automated because it is more expensive and more prone to error.

I agree that eliminating non-value/low-value work should be done much more often. Automating makes a great deal of sense, though I would generalize it to process improvement. Automation is great: I think that is a specific form of process improvement – automation is wise, but maybe limiting. You improve productivity both by taking less time and by producing more effectively. If you produce something of more value to customers in the same time that improves productivity.

I also think there is another important area for people to think about – new ideas. Spending more time on something might seem counter-productive to productivity improvement. It takes time after all. Going and seeing what is really going on with your own eyes takes time, but trying to save time by acting based on reports results in ineffective and therefore unproductive action.

One of the things I first when looking at using internet technology to improve performance was that the technology opens new opportunities that were not feasible previously. People often focused just on how to improve what was done. People forget to look at things that were not pursued before that are now possible. With the time you save by eliminating, improving and delegating maybe you would get a big productivity improvement by coaching someone – or by being coached yourself. Or by reading about how to apply successful management improvement strategies that are too often ignored. Or you can learn about a new strategy that is more effective such as, combinatorial testing. Or learn to eliminate ineffective strategies such as: multitasking .

A number of “new ideas” are round about ways to eliminate work, in some form, though in a bit less direct way than people normally would consider elimination. For example, if you focus on reducing turnover, you can eliminate time spent bringing new people up to speed. If you make a process more reliable you can reduce the time spent dealing with the problems from a less reliable process.
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Not Exactly Lean Packaging

HP shatters excessive packaging world record

Stephen said: “Imagine our excitement as we opened it, hoping against hope that it might contain a copy of some c-class virtual connect firmware that actually works.”

Sadly not. What the überbox did contain was 16 smaller boxes “which in turn [each] contained (wrapped in foam so they wouldn’t get broken) exactly two sheets of A4 paper”

It is hard to imagine what management system creates such solutions. But it is not hard to image Dilbert’s pointy haired boss fitting right in there.

Related: Is Poor Service the Industry Standard (HP)?Muda/wasteCustomers Get Dissed and TellCompanies in Need of Customer Focus

Using Google to Eliminate Some IT Costs

Computer Science 101: A Case Study In Google Applications:

Sannier plans to shut down the university’s own e-mail servers later this spring. When that happens, thousands more will move over. The portal provides access to other functions of Google Apps, including calendar (which users can now share online, something they couldn’t do before), instant messaging, and search. Within the next two months, Sannier expects to offer personalized home pages and Google’s Docs & Spreadsheets applications combo.

The cost to ASU: zero. The university had been spending a half-million dollars a year on servers and storage for its open source e-mail system, including administrative support costs. More important is the faster pace of innovation. “Now we’re on Google’s development curve, not ours,” Sannier says.

Google’s efforts with Google Apps have fairly quietly become quite significant. I find gmail excellent (and Google talk and Google calendar are good but hopefully will be improved significantly). I must say I find Open Office very good and so don’t quite see the value in Google docs but maybe I am missing something (for those few documents that benefit from collaboration Google’s model sounds interesting – though a wiki seem like the best option in that case). Seems very possible Google Apps are an example of Clayton Christensen’s concept of disruptive innovation.