The world wasn’t built in a day and neither will efficiency. It takes years of small efforts that will accumulate into a larger result as persistence wins out. Each penny saved and each second of manufacturing time extracted from the process can be worth millions over a few hundred thousand products. These bit size chunks contribute to the profitability of the bottom line in a big way.
Savings are tucked away in the corners of the businesses such as supplies, processes, SOP’s, job descriptions, scrap waste, employee talents, and administrative structure. A progressive executive that desires to save costs and increase output must consider the deepest and darkest corners of the company for nuggets of improvement. The hard savings are in places that won’t likely be found with cursory and quick oversight.
An executive may consider putting together a task force to search out improvements or they can solicit their employees for improvement. Outsiders from the task force will likely only be able to rely on paper knowledge and what employees are willing to reveal. Yet most employees are generally unwilling to share their insights with the management team that will give them no credit or recognition. Therefore, having people who are intimately associated with the workers are very important.
There are many ways in which employers may attempt to delve into the knowledge of their employees but almost all have to do with sharing mutual respect and organizational resources. Why should the executives receive all the perks if it is the employers that are going to bail them out? Employees often don’t participate because executives don’t give employees much respect and employee’s opinions are not often appreciated. Without giving employees a reason to be partners in the problem resolution process most will simply be unconcerned.
Management should consider their long-term ability to create and maintain a strong business by engaging employees as a cultural requirement. One cannot shut employees out of the decision making process and in a single day expect them to come up with a million great ideas. Every organization should work on implementing a “learning organization” built upon mutual benefit to all.
Therefore, as a corporate strategy it makes sense to develop cross functional teams, mutual rights among all workers, brain storming sessions and inclusive management. The employees are knowledgeable of all the places where little inefficiencies exist. With a little persuasion these employees are willing to tell their secrets and help develop an organization running at its maximum efficiency.