Instead of having a never-ending stream of emergencies to deal with, imagine coming to work each day with a to-do list that has been written on your own terms. I have found that having a small number of improvement areas – pillars, you might say – with a clearly-written vision for each, gives you a framework for taking control. It also gives you a safety net to fall back on so that when emergencies do demand your attention, you can pick up where you left off.
World-Class manufacturing for small companies
Official World-Class Manufacturing (WCM) programs are very effective in large companies. Small organizations need a razor-sharp focus on a smaller number of improvement pillars in order to avoid their efforts getting diluted.
My assumption here is that you’re already determined to grow. It’s tempting to just focus on booking more orders, and you certainly do need to make that happen. But there are five pillars of improvement accessible to any size of business that make a massive difference when you’re taking a company to the next level.
In my experience these five areas drive sustainability. They give your Sales team confidence and boost morale throughout:
Health & Safety
Create efficiency and eliminate waste when you create a safe, tidy and enjoyable work environment
Business Management Systems
Empower people to improve by building systems to facilitate change.
Increase revenue by increasing throughput: focus on getting orders out the door faster and work on the next one sooner.
Overhaul the atmosphere at work by having leadership skills taught to your managers
Eliminate conflict and stress by teaching managers to make requirements clear and use time effectively
Just the vision changes everything
Where do you start, when the daily grind is grinding and the fires are burning? The biggest transformation often comes when the direction is set. Watch a bunch of kids playing hockey for the fun of it and see the change that occurs… when they start keeping score.
Make a start today by coming up with a vision for each of these areas, something your team can rally around. If you do nothing else, communicate. As I have said elsewhere you have to have a short-term improvement cycle going on, so start reviewing those visions every week. In the meantime, get the word out to the team in a way that attracts them.
Make it inspirational
“We’re going to become a great company. We will have a safe and enjoyable work environment; Systems to make work easier; We’ll please our customers by getting work to them sooner; We’ll develop leadership; And we’ll manage predictably. You’re going to love working here”
Focusing on these five specific areas gives your team a framework to work on when they have time and a safety net to fall back on when they don’t. You’ll be amazed how quickly you can build the team’s enthusiasm with these pillars of improvement.
Get the word out: You’re going to get everyone off that same hamster wheel you find so frustrating!