Consider the Impact of Potential Business Efficiency Solutions
It’s easy to assume you know which solution to use to address a given inefficiency problem in your business or organization, but you know what they say about assuming. A responsible efficiency-enhancing project considers a solution’s potential impact on every corner of the company before starting to implement it.
Most people are aware they have to consider the immediate impacts of a change — time to implement, cost, and so on — but completely overlook some of the more far-reaching effects on other aspects of the business, such as human resources or IT, or even on the organization’s goals and values.
Correlation is not causation! In other words, just because your sales team placed more phone calls in March does not necessarily mean that the jump in sales in March is a direct result of those additional phone calls. Perhaps your product was featured on a top blog, or all the customers who ordered last March during a special promotion are now reordering, or the market changed in your favor.
Understanding and internalizing this concept is important when it comes to vetting solutions. March sales may have been up and it may seem perfectly reasonable to hire additional sales staff to make even more phone calls in April. But if the phone calls weren’t causing the bump in sales, then you’ll find yourself facing a significant payroll increase without a corresponding increase in profits.
Look at an efficiency problem from all sides
When you’re selecting between potential solutions, it’s often external forces that provide the most clarity regarding the best fit for your organization. Failing to consider a new project from a full 360 degrees introduces unnecessarily high levels of risk.
Areas to consider include finances, human resources, legal issues, impact on quality, customer service, customer and employee sentiment, technology hurdles, time, the organization’s goals, available skills and resources, the longevity of the solution, downtime required, and what will happen if the solution fails when implemented.
You can’t effectively vet solutions in a vacuum or on your own. Actively solicit feedback from management and everyday consultants on the ground. Ultimately, you’ll want to assemble a team of functional representatives from every department of the company who can provide feedback from their particular area of expertise.
Don’t let your team devolve into a panel that rejects every suggested project. It’s not up to them whether the project comes to exist, only to share their concerns for the project team to further investigate or plan ahead for.
Communicate openly about inefficiencies
Having an open dialogue with your entire company reaps many benefits. You never know who, based on outside experience, internal knowledge, or just plain luck, will first identify a core inefficiency or suggest the best remedy for that inefficiency. Further, after you’re in the swing of implementing projects, it’s the people who are actually implementing the change who are best qualified to report back on issues and even additional improvements.
You can never predict every possible impact that executing a given project may have on your organization. This makes feedback channels all the more important, so you can hear initial rumblings of a problem before they become serious issues.