When it comes to corporate buzzwords, “operational efficiency” tends to land at or near the top of the list. But unlike other trendy phrases that are more sizzle than substance, this is one that can actually make a meaningful and measurable impact on your business. The thought of instituting wholesale changes to make the business more economical can be enough to send a business owner into a panic—but the reality is that efficiency gains can be found with the help of just a few minor tweaks. If that’s something you’re striving for, check out these three simple ways to improve your organization’s operational efficiency.
1. Make sure roles and responsibilities are clearly defined
Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid once said, “There is no greater impediment to the advancement of knowledge than the ambiguity of words.” That’s a very formal way of saying the less clear you are about something, the less likely you are to find success with it—and that most definitely translates to the workplace. In today’s business world, a time where people have more specializations than ever before, you can’t be afraid to make it known what each person on the team is responsible for handling.
By clearly outlining roles, you will eliminate confusion and time wasted discussing who, how, when and why the team takes on something new. This found time can also have a cascading effect, meaning an hour saved here can translate to many more additional hours further down the workflow. Additionally, ensuring each teammate knows their role promotes accountability and prideful work, which are always good things.
2. Delegate as needed
As the business owner or leader, you’re probably spinning a lot of plates each and every day. Without question, there will be times when it feels like you can’t possibly add another one to the stack—and that’s perfectly OK. When it happens, instead of letting something slip, just delegate to the next most qualified person on the team.
Ever hear of the 70% rule? It states that if the person the CEO wants to take on a task can do it at least 70% as well as the CEO can, it should be delegated. Perfection is a roadblock to progress, and demanding perfection on every task can only slow your growth to a grinding halt. Know when to hold on to something and when to let it go to the people you trust to help run your business.
3. Iterate. Iterate. Iterate.
Iterative design is a methodology in which the company routinely creates, measures and adjusts accordingly. While it’s popular in digital marketing and manufacturing environments, the concept behind it can be applied to nearly every industry and scope. It’s best characterized by envisioning process design in manageable (and modifiable) chunks rather than in one large, overwhelming manner.
For instance, if your company relies on sourcing parts from three different locations before a product is created, why would you spend time working on a distribution method before you’ve perfected part sourcing? Since you’re fixing problems as you go (i.e., finding a new source for parts when you discover that one of your three providers is having supply chain issues of its own), you can avoid the type of waterfall problems that cause delays down the line.
Clarke Executive Services Group works with many business owners who are keenly aware of what it takes to provide the goods or services they specialize in but lack awareness of how to best operate the business. We offer operations consulting that helps companies like yours find efficiencies using the three tactics listed above (and others).
If you’re interested in learning more about what we can do for you, contact our Business Services team today to schedule a free consultation.