Aug 292014

Have you ever witnessed the process of removing a more than 20 year old palm tree? It is an impressive undertaking! This morning as I was driving to a client, I passed a garden where three guys were trying to chop up a recently removed palm tree’s trunk with a diameter of more than a meter, but with shovels. It was not surprising to me that on my way back, much later the same day, I found them still at it. My logic screamed that this was a job better suited for a chain saw, but here three people were struggling (inefficiently and ineffectively) with the tools they had available to them. We see this way too often in businesses! Sometimes it is not only the availability of the right tool that is the problem, but the fact that we have neglected to train the user properly in the effective application of their tools, equipment and / or software.

I wonder what the outcome would be if I had to open this discussion with each and every one of your employees. What are their views on the tools they are required to use to provide you with excellent results? Are they familiar enough with your processes to correctly decide which tool would be most appropriate? Can they use each tool available at their disposal to its full potential?

What are the risks to our bottom line results when we fail to apply the most appropriate tools in the most effective manner?

  • Lost time

Working with mediocre tools often wastes valuable time – a resource that once it has been wasted can never be recovered. The most important factor here is probably the opportunity cost related to the lost time. What else could you have been doing in that time? Could you have been doing something that would actually have increased your revenue or profits instead? In the case of the palm tree, the home owner will pay a specific predetermined amount for the removal of the tree, whether it takes an hour or a week to get it removed. If the supplier is able to complete the job in an hour, they can move on to the next income generating job much earlier than in the case where it takes them a week.

  • Wasted money

When you work with inappropriate tools it often also results in a waste of money by unnecessarily increasing scrap or resulting in rework, or money wasted on repairs or replacement of the damaged tool. Even if we can still complete the job perfectly, the additional unnecessary time that it took, also comes at a price.

  • Frustrated resources

Nobody really enjoys struggling unnecessarily. Resources who are continuously left frustrated by having to struggle with inferior tools, will have a very difficult time staying positive and friendly. This can have a very negative impact on overall morale. Frustrated resources will also tend to become tired more quickly, negatively impacting on their overall productivity.

  • The risk of injuries

Working with inferior equipment can often result in injuries and have a knock on effect in terms of employee absenteeism.

  • Inferior results

It is very difficult (and sometimes nearly impossible) to perform your best work if you do not have the right tools at your disposal.

  • Lost sales

If you fail to effectively utilize your current capacity, you may end up having to unnecessarily turn additional business away. Providing inferior results will also create a poor impression of your business, reducing the likelihood of customers returning to you in future or recommending you to others. The unnecessary expenses that you incur will also negatively impact on your competiveness in the market place in the long term.

The risk may seem small when considered in isolation, but have you multiplied it by the frequency of its occurrence? In the case of chopping up the tree, if they lost only one day a week in this way, it would be the equivalent of 3 people x 1 day per week x 52 weeks per year = 156 working days (almost half a year’s productivity of an employee). If two teams experience this same issue, the loss becomes the equivalent of a full year’s productivity for one employee. Carefully consider this before you decide that you do not have the money to invest in acquiring the appropriate tools, equipment or software.

Give your employees the best possible chance of delivering you their best work and make sure that they know how to decide between the various tool, equipment and software options available to them and how to use the most appropriate one to its full potential.

Click the link below to view the complete A2C Newsflash Volume 2 Issue 26 – The most appropriate tool

A2C Newsflash Vol 2 Iss 26 – The most appropriate tool

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