Planning ahead keeps you from slipping up
Earlier this week the chimney sweep we have used to clean our chimney several times over the years showed up for his scheduled appointment. This was the second time we had set an appointment with him this year. I’m not sure why he didn’t follow through the first time and had to reschedule. When I answered the door, he surprised me by saying, “You know, I forgot my cleats.” It’s true that we have a very steep roof. He and his assistant walked around, gazing up at the roof a little longer and then left. We didn’t hear from him for several days.
This is my question; how can a chimney sweep forget his cleats? When I mentioned this to my wife, she said, “Well, not all roofs are as steep as ours.” I know this, but shouldn’t a chimney sweep be prepared for all kinds of roofs?
This is a dramatic example of not planning ahead, failing to be prepared for every possibility. A lack of adequate preparation almost always leads to rework. Merriam- Webster’s definition of rework is “to work again or anew.” Rework is one of the most costly occurrences in any business, and rework occurs in most businesses far more than anyone realizes. Anytime someone has to ask a question about an indistinguishable specification or has to ask for additional information, that is rework. Our challenge to you is to take an objective look at your processes, methods, and most important of all, your standard practices. Look at the daily routines of the people on your team. How often are they retracing their steps, going back, before they can go forward – getting a tool, checking a dimension, clarifying a detail? Peter Drucker said over 25% of the work being performed in most businesses is rework. Imagine what would happen to your throughput speed, customer service, cost of materials, and profits if you could eliminate rework. What if you could eliminate 25% of your activity, 25% of your labor costs, 25% of your material costs? It’s not just lowering your hard costs that you cut when you eliminate rework; you improve morale; people don’t like doing the same thing over and over again. They especially don’t like doing it
over if someone gave them bad information, they did it wrong, and now they have to do it over again. If you are in a leadership role and you are doing rework, you are providing a very poor example for others to follow, and you help perpetuate a culture of rework.
When you eliminate rework, customer service improves; customers don’t like seeing rework and you don’t look professional when you show up unprepared. Instead you look unreliable. People don’t like to have to ask the same question a second time, or have to call the office for backup. Think how your lead times will improve when you eliminate all rework. Would shorter required lead times give you a competitive advantage? The action I call you to take is ask your team at the end of the day, “Did you do any rework today?” If their answer is “yes,” ask, “What can we do to eliminate it?” and then listen!
What are our plans for ensuring that as 2012 ends, your team is prepared for an extraordinary New Year?
We have already scheduled three year-end meetings for major west coast contractors. If you’d like to ensure your team ends the year on a high and is excited about the promise of the new year, give us a call. Tell us about the unique characteristics of your team. We will tailor a program just for you that will guarantee your year ends on a high note and you’re ready to run with high octane fuel into 2013.
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