Well we are reading lately that the recession is over and the economy is starting to grow again. At the same time we hear how unemployment and under employment is still at extremely high levels. With all those people out of work it will be hard for them to pump much into the economy. So while the worst may be over, the economy is still pretty weak kneed and your sales are probably not where they were a few years ago.
Also, in order to survive you have probably laid off a few employees and you are struggling to meet the demands of the work load. As your own company recovers, and you get busier the next big question is ‘How are you going to get all the work done with a reduced staff?’ Of course some people will be hired back, but do you really want to return to the levels you had before? Plus with new regulations, Obamacare and potentially cap and trade, you are unsure of what your cost structure will look like. Those employees will be more expensive to hire back. And don’t forget the cost of momey - and the availability of money. The credit markets are still pretty tight and it may be hard to get debt or equity for growth.
So what can you do? As I mentioned in my post about the ‘Profitability Vice’ the answer is to become a more efficient and streamlined business - often called a lean business. A lean business is one that modifies their business process to eliminate ‘muda’ waste, increase the use of information technology solutions and empower employees throughout the organization.
In the majority of businesses today, there is significant duplication of effort where managers in operations do work using offline systems only to be duplicated in back office operations using the official corporate computer systems. For example, customer invoices are created on spreadsheets or Word documents, mailed to customers and then sent to the AR department to be entered into the AR system. Another example, operations personnel go through an informal process to approve and purchase needed supplies. Then someone in the department maintains a record of what was purchased on paper or spreadsheets. Vendor invoices are mailed to the AP department who then goes about investigating who purchased the items and getting approval to pay the invoice. Enormous amounts of time are wasted in this process and frequently vendor discounts are missed or late fees charged because vendor payments are delayed. Issues like these can be resolved by new thinking and providing information technology solutions to enter the information in the systems in the operations departments.
To learn more about how to implement lean business processes and technology contact LJR Consulting Services for a free consulation. Call us at 818-227-5025 or visit our website at www.ljrconsultingservices.com