If you and your company are not working hard at “Continuous Improvement”, you and your company may find out when it is too late and you will not be able to catch up. By Gary Shotton #000042
By Gary Shotton
Today we’re going to talk today about continuous improvement, It won’t be a cliché to us if we’re serious about increasing our business. It’s easy to say we’re continually improving, but are we really?
Let’s talk about a couple key things that we should always keep in mind.First we need to work on some habits If you’re going to keep improving.
A lot depends on our mental state of mind., There’s some physical things you can do, but until you take on the attitude: I’m going to win, I’m not going to be left in the dust, I’m going to be the best that I possibly can be, I’m going to excel in what I have, I’m going to be responsible, I’m going to be the best company in my particular product or service, I’m going to be known to be the best employer, you won’t reach your full potential. You can’t excel without change, you cannot change unless you change your mind, you cannot change your mind without changing your habits.
Communicate continuous improvement
Let me give you a key. If you’re the boss, if you’re the owner, if you’re the top management, you’ve got to demonstrate A commitment to improvement.. You cannot just talk about it. Now, I bought this shop ten years ago. We’ve expanded it from 15,000 Square feet to 46,000 square feet, about an acre under roof. We had 41 employees, we went up to 65. We actually reduced our labor and have only 50 employees, but we’re producing more revenue with those 50 employees than most these would produce with 60 employees, we’re efficient.
There’s certain cliches we’ve all heard many times that are not conducive to continual improvement: Well if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. What the person is saying is wait till it breaks, and then we’ll fix it. No, no, no. This is my attitude, if it’s working pretty good, great. But how can we make it better? How can we make it more efficient? How can we make it faster? How can we better use the tools available to us.
Ask others how you can improve
I’m constantly talking to our suppliers about how we can improve. I seek advice from anybody that is involved in our manufacturing process. Recently, I found out that our machines could operate a little faster with some technical help from the manufacture. They were created with a governor on them and they can be adjusted.Anybody that knows a little thing about a vehicle that has a governor on it, is that it won’t let it go past a certain speed, and it would keep that vehicle from going, let’s say more than 65 miles an hour. You can go in and adjust that and you can adjust something, it’ll let you go 75. I want it faster. Safe, but faster, because it’s going to mean continual improvements.
If you’re going to continually improve you have to be curious and flexible.It’s got to be, in essence, always on our mind continual improvement is the way we think. We always ask critical questions: why couldn’t we do it this way? What would be your opinion in it? How could we do if different? We have one of our customers that rewards us when we come up with suggestions, and we get a financial credit. Even if they don’t take the suggestion. There’s different words for that, but they called it “cost management partnership.” In this particular case, we’re helping them manage the cost, so that we’re a partner in their improvement So last month, we had forms and filled out some documents that said: here’s some suggestions we can make to our customer more efficient. We suggest things that could be changed.Our customer wasn’t saying just lower your price, they’re saying “What can we do to make it better?” We made some tangible real suggestions that gave us some substantial credits. We actually received eight thousand dollars and credits for our suggestions of improvements for that month on parts?” And then, from there on, that would be seven thousand dollars every time we made those parts, every time we did those jobs.
We make parts for another customer that sells the product to the general public. There is a competitive market out there. If our parts are too expensive, it drives the cost to our customers. They have to increase their cost. Guess what? They don’t make a sale. If they lose a sale we lose a job. Somebody’s always trying to improve the price, so I always have to be thinking about how can I improve?
Maybe you’re in another field, maybe you’re a hairdresser. Are you always improving the way you deal with your customers? Are you always improving by knowing what’s available, and knowing your products, and knowing the new popular styles and making suggestions?
If you are continually seeking improvement you will be known as a leader in your industry, and if you’re known as a leader in your industry, you’ll have customers coming to you. Always continually improving.
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