Productivity methodologies are time-tested approaches to getting work done and to enhance productivity in assembly lines, manufacturing plans, operational warehouses and pretty much any time of process in business dealings. One of the best things about these methods is how flexible and adaptable they can be to diverse environments and how no matter the size of the organization, they can be implemented. That also goes for different types of businesses and even departments inside the company going from manufacturing all the way to customer service.
The improvement of quality processes paired with up keeping accepted performance levels are critical and any organization that cares about success will find a way to implement policies and practices that pursue this goal and that maintain levels of performance that have been previously selected by management. Methodologies for performance improvement aren’t new and for the past 30 years, we have been hearing about different methods like Total Quality Management, BPR, Six Sigma, Lean, and many more. All of them try to do the same thing for the organization but go about in a different way.
Today here in David Kiger’s Blog, we want to take a look at some of these methodologies we normally mention in our blog and see how they can be adjusted towards small businesses and home based business endeavors, aimed towards everyday entrepreneurs who may feel like their organization is not big enough to be benefited from the application of these methodologies. We believe that nothing could be further from the truth, as not process or organization is too small to reap the rewards of well-organized strategies.
As it is the case with any business, internal workings are not that different from those of a machine. Pieces must correctly fit within another and processes have to complement the way the work individually in order to further advance the goals if the organization. Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy that focuses on the small but increasingly advancing improvement. The word literally means “good change” but most people have come to associated with the idea of continuous improvement. It is believe that very small improvements that never stop but continue advancing over time yield the best results.
The great thing about Kaizen is that it can be used to absolutely everything the business does, from the actual making of the product or the performance of the services, all the way to the way customer relations are handled and how returns and warranties are managed. What is great about Kaizen is that it understands that processes are learning experiences and it doesn’t aim to go for perfection right away. The point it to get better as time passes, even if that means that today you only improved your production time by 5 seconds; as long as there is an improvement, Kaizen is being observed. Small business owners known that getting started is a series of situations in which you are discovering new territory and having experiences that you have not had before; that makes Kaizen a great philosophy to implement in your small business.
Six Sigma is said to have been started by the Motorola Corporation back in the 80’s. The Six Sigma methodology aims to look for perfection in performance, in such way that errors are eventually and methodically faced out until they virtually disappear. The name of the discipline explains its rigorous standard that tries to drive operations towards six standard deviations between the mean and the nearest specification limit. In actual numbers, this means that any given process must not be produced more than 3.4 times per million of opportunities.
Small businesses may not deal with that kind of numbers, which means their standards could be even more rigorous and that is why Six Sigma may be better for them that we initially believed. Smaller budgets mean that these types of businesses must be even more careful with their adjustments as they finely tune their Six Sigma implementation. The benefits are many and may include improved teamwork, enhanced employee involvement, motivation, increased customer satisfaction and a much better profit margin. As with many of these processes, it is important to begin the transition with a thorough assessment in order to decide specific goals and benchmarks to be reached.
Just in Time Production
The idea behind JIT production is for companies to reduce their inventory to the bare minimum amounts needed to produce and to do away with overstock. If you think about the budget-minded orientation of small businesses, this is a great strategy to implement. In a perfect world, the company aims to pay its suppliers as they are being paid themselves by customers, so that waste is reduced and very small amounts of capital are caught up in the inventory. The reason why JIT works so well for large companies is because they simply have the resources to reduce their cost and impose their will on suppliers due to their large purchasing power. For small business it may harder to do, but it ultimately makes a lot more sense.
* Featured Image courtesy of Unsplash at Pexels.com