Ford turned interchangeable parts with standard work and moving conveyors into a workflow. In addition to revolutionizing the assembly line, Ford also created a trickle down effect of lean management that can be used in just about every industry imaginable.
Take lessons from lean labor and apply it to your business to avoid costly turnover and layoffs. By strategically wading through your options, you can retain your best talent while reducing workflow waste in other areas. Here’s how to get started:
Require Mandatory Vacation and Remote Days
Ensure costs stay down by requiring everyone to use mandatory vacation days during specific time frames. This prevents unused days from rolling over or getting paid out, and it reduces the need for costly temporary replacement. Enforcing vacation time also ensures time is taken during a down period instead of it effecting the most productive point in your business practice.
Take a closer look at your day-to-day processes and time wasters. Asking employees to work from home can improve their morale while reducing some of your costs as well. Time spent commuting or in meetings can instead be spent on actual work tasks with greater speed and efficiency. Use the iPhone’s new 3D Touch function and Peek and Pop to make your phone respond to subtle taps. This way employees have a streamlined and lightning fast process to address emails and tasks efficiently and quickly.
Broaden Roles and Responsibilities
Going lean with a combination of a hiring freeze and an expansion of current roles can help reduce overhead costs and keep turnover lower. Encourage employees to take a vested interest in their careers by offering more responsibilities in areas they thrive in. Let them know when to expect bonuses and raises and what perks you can offer in the meantime. Extra compensation may come in the form of working from home one day a week, leaving the office early during down time or getting the first pick of choice projects.
Companies and manufacturers are often victims of their own overproduction. Creating large reserves may be responsible for everything from poor customer service to an inefficient workflow. In reality, your business could run without any stock at all and instead use a fulfillment center or make items on-site when an order comes in. Simply cutting back on what’s sitting around in your storage room could save thousands and a few jobs.
Train for Zero Defects
Zero defects means embracing quality and consistently thinking of all the places where flaws might be introduced in your project or service. Getting things done correctly the first time requires more time upfront and training costs, but it can save a bundle in the long run. However, the idea behind zero defects isn’t to be a perfectionist or to never make a mistake.According to Mind Tools, zero defects should be done meticulously and methodically to avoid wasting time in areas that just doesn’t warrant it.