In the poem Advent by Patrick Kavanagh, he mentions “the newness that was in every stale thing when we looked at it as children.”When we look at our business, do we see that newness or have we stopped to notice the stale things. Have we become so used to looking at what’s there, that we don’t think about it any more.
That’s how costs and bad practices creep in and grow.
To counter that we need to find new ways of looking at our business that will give us a different perspective.
Lean thinking can help us. Lean puts the customer to the forefront. So we should look at activities and ask would the customer be willing to pay for this activity. If not, then we should try to remove it. Anything that the customer would not pay for we call waste. So Lean puts a big focus on waste reduction. And by waste reduction, we don’t mean refuse or becoming environmentally conscious. We simply mean reduction activities or costs that the customer would not pay for.
Not all waste can be eliminated. There are some activities that the customer would not want to pay for that we have to do for other reasons, maybe compliance. For example the customer may not want to pay for your annual accounts but your business has to do them.
We need to identify the wastes that can be eliminated without causing problems elsewhere and take action to eliminate those.
So over the next week, start to look at all activities and ask yourself “would the customer be prepared to pay for that?” If not, then ask yourself how can you eliminate it.