5 ways to maximise efficiency
Imagine, if you will, you have been tasked with developing a core strategy for improving the efficiency of a business. The CEO of the company looks at you with cold grey eyes over the rims of his spectacles. He tell you in a grave undertone that you are his last hope. It may sound daunting, but really all companies these days should be focusing on the execution of phrases like "trim the fat" or "work smarter not longer" in order to improve. Effieicincy is becoming a buzzword itself, but maximizing it is all anyone wants to really do.
Luckily the boss needs just 5 simple strategies, easy enough for his entire staff to understand, written on a few sheets of paper. No Sigma Six blackbelt training. No Agile Project Management with Scrum. No clever workflow patterns on a Kanban board.
He wants simple, direct, and actionable strategies.
Can you do it?
Here are 5 strategies you might suggest:
Strategy #1: Motivate with a founder’s story tied to a grand mission purpose
We may be using computers to do most of our thinking, but we are still hard-wired to love a good story. Neanderthal man loved to describe his daring hunts on the open planes, where, he, the underdog, managed to slay a huge animal for dinner. He even illustrated his stories with cave drawings.
We are even more in love with stories now that our brain has received an evolutionary upgrade down the ages.
So a company with a good founder’s story will outwork, outwit, and outmaneuver a company that sounds like any other predatory corporation out to make money with hardcore capitalism.
Here’s an example of a powerful founder’s story :
“For Steve Jobs, Apple cofounder and former CEO, the goal of Apple wasn't simply to create great products, but to create a lasting company that will influence the world for generations.” The story would then describe his struggles to create a new kind of computer and glorify how Apple went beyond the Mac to develop the iPod, iPad, iPhone, and Apple Watch.
If you worked for Apple, you’d take pride in working for a company building products that will impact generations. You can just hear your grandchildren talk about the things you designed when you worked at Apple, things that transformed the world.
A company is its culture. If the culture is united by a good story, everyone will do their best. Efficiency will be a way of life. Efficiency is a byproduct of motivation.
Strategy #2: Get out of negative cash flow
There is nothing more discouraging than doing everything right and still having negative cash flow.
Cash flow is the movement of money through a company. If bills are paid on time and a company makes more than enough to stay in business, it has a positive cash flow. If bills are not paid on time and creditors issue a variety of threats that might shut the company down, then it has negative cash flow.
Cash flow is not related to profits; it is strictly the rate of cash moving through it. A company could be profitable on paper, but still have negative cash flow.
How does negative cash flow happen? For many businesses, it has to do with not getting credit from vendors or suppliers but giving customers 30, 60, or 90 days credit.
So, when bills have to get paid, there is no money for them since money has not yet been collected from customers. Even if the company has more money coming in than going out, if the money has to go out before it can come in, there is a negative cash flow.
It’s almost impossible for a company to be efficient under this type of duress.
Fortunately, the solution is simple find an invoice factoring company for your industry.
There are invoice factoring for all kinds of industries, even trucking. If, for example, you run an independent trucking company, TBS Capital Funding may forward you the money you need to fuel and repair your trucks and pay your drivers before your freight clients pay you. You could run your business without disruption.
Strategy #3: Outsource complex tasks
You don’t have to do everything yourself. There are core tasks that require people with professional skills.
Let’s suppose you run a busy IT consultancy business. Do you really have time to study human resource management?
An elegant solution is to simply outsource your Human Resource needs to a Human Resource company to keep track of labor laws and compliance issues when handling employment and compensation.
Strategy #4: Use a quality management system
As your business grows, you will have to adopt a quality management system to ensure that customers are continuing to get excellent products. This is especially important if your business has to meet government or industry compliance standards.
Strategy #5: Keep track of productivity
Productivity waxes and wanes. It’s difficult to measure it subjectively. A company can keep track of productivity through daily reports, weekly meetings, and monthly reviews. Usually, the best way to make this information meaningful is to find ways to quantify productivity.
What is an Efficient Business?
When you run a business where employees are expected to be creative and productive, they will enjoy coming to work. If you have the right processes in place, they will all work more efficiently without a second thought.