If you are sitting comfortably, there’s not much incentive to improve your systems. However, disruptors such as technology, competition and atrophy (i.e., Groupon), may force your hand to get your systems more efficient.
I’ve been sharing out various books around the area of business growth and efficiency lately. A classic I would recommend if you are serious about getting your business systems working optimally is The Goal by Eliyahu Goldratt. You get an insightful and packed story that illuminates the complexities, sensitivities and systemic relationships of complex systems.
You also learn about what the goal of a system is: throughput. Your challenge is to drive throughput in the midst of dealing with natural forces including statistical fluctuations, dependencies, inventory, operational expense and bottlenecks.
It’s tricky business, and if you are not careful, you can damage your systems in the pursuit of efficiencies and make throughput worse, not better.
If you get myopic around local maximums, for example, you can cause your system’s throughput to suffer overall.
Systems with their dependencies and obedience to natural laws have to be respected, analyzed and refined carefully to avoid unintended consequences.
I have seen so many businesses with good intentions that violate the principles of The Goal and see negative impacts on their cash flow. It’s not pretty, and sometimes it’s hard to understand.
There are undoubtedly higher efficiencies that would make life easier, make customers happier and put more money in your pocket.
What if you could increase your throughput and your cash by 50%? Does it appeal to you to move the needle? All that lost opportunity and money could be a fantastic motivator to keep growing so you are not vulnerable when change comes to force your hand.
Get ahead of that inevitable decrease and drive the throughput. That is the goal of your system.