Have you seen Ford vs. Ferrari? The film is full of sexy cars and great racing scenes, but the pivotal moment – when Carol Shelby wins over Henry Ford II comes when Carol points out the wasted effort inherent in a single report reaching its way to CEO’s desk. One report… big deal, but Carol points out that the same wasted-time mentality slowing the report was encumbering the race team and preventing them from crossing the finish line ahead of the competition.
The point here: walking out of the theater, people will talk about the dare-devil driving and the photo finish. No one will mention the red folder that touched 26 hands on its way to the top. Assessing your business processes and operations for wasted time is not a sexy undertaking, but if you want to pull ahead of the competition, eliminate the wasted time.
Opportunities for wasted time abound in any business. Hopefully the three examples we highlight in this article when get you thinking in the right direction.
Wasted Time at the Start of a Shift
A few years ago, when consulting with a customer, we arrived onsite a few minutes prior to the start of the workday. The goal was to shadow the employees as they clocked in to find ways to improve efficiency. Some of the employees headed to their workstations to work on jobs while more than half hovered around shop managers office waiting to get assigned to their jobs. Being a Monday morning, the shop manager was busy taking customers calls and looking through job cards to assign tasks to the employees.
The same process was repeated Tuesday and then Wednesday morning.
So, what was the cost of the morning ritual?
- 10 employees waiting an average of 20 minutes Monday morning before starting work…
- We realize Mondays are a bit hectic and not the normal morning, but it does account for 20% of the work week and consistent with other shops.
- Let us average out the remaining 4 days to 10 minutes per employee each morning
- Averages 120 lost minutes each morning
- Equals 2 lost hours each morning
- Equals 10 hours lost each week
- Equals 520 hours lost each year
- At an average wage of $35/hour…
- Equals $18,200/year is wages paid to employees who are waiting for an assignment each morning.
- At a shop rate of $100/hour…
- Equals $52,000/year in forfeited billable hours!
Step back and look at your operations – literally. Where do you see employees not working? Do not jump immediately on getting them to work. Watch. Time it. How long, how often, how much is it costing you?
Wasted Time in Double Data Entry
One company we consulted with claimed to be using 27 different systems for all their operations. That’s an extreme example, and most shops report using 3-6 different systems. Let’s make this one quick.
- How often is customer information entered into different systems? I.e., have you typed the same company name more than once?
- How often is a job number entered into different systems? I.e., have you typed the same job number more than once? Did you actually type a job number, or does your system generate it for you, preventing inadvertent duplicates?
- How often is nameplate information for the same piece of equipment entered into different (or the same) systems? I.e., have you re-typed nameplate information for the same item more than once?
- Etc. – what other information is being written down or keyed in more than once?
Not only is typing the same information more than once a huge time suck, the odds of keeping all information consistent and accurate across multiple systems or entries are astronomical – attempts to do so inevitably lead to inconsistent, obsolete, and conflicting information.
Refer to Step 2 for specific examples and a more detailed discussion regarding “Finding & Eliminating Duplicated Customer”.
What data do you enter more than once?
In what other areas do you see the potential for wasted time?
What is the dollar value of each of the identified areas?
What do you need to do to transform wasted time into cash?
If the answer is not readily apparent, give us a call.