We can laugh at the paper shuffling reference as a bygone era, however, you would not be hard-pressed to see manual processes still being run today. Regardless of the efficiencies, cost-savings and better customer experience of digitization, old habits can die hard, especially in businesses.
Never mind if your livelihood depends on such inefficiencies. Innovating a workflow can easily eliminate the need for headcount.
It’s scary when efficiency keeps rolling back the tide and exposing waste. What may have been necessary or productive once is now either wasteful or meaningless work. This goes for digital processes as well.
There are cheaper, faster coders that can deliver an app from anywhere in the world.
You don’t have to manually enter data from one system to another. Using a tool like Zapier can automatically push data wherever you want. Or just make rules between your apps with IFTTT.
Bench is data mining, commoditizing and automating bookkeeping at scale.
Alibaba gets product entrepreneurs prototyping, testing and domesticating products.
Being a middleman these days can be quite wasteful, especially if you are in a production process. Better to figure out how to be more valuable and use the speed to get better results.
Meaningless work has a rapid half-life, especially when business owners and managers are squeezed to deliver better results and profits. Furthermore, you and I are consumers. We are part of the demand audience. We are snobs. We insist on food being delivered instantly, hotels being seamlessly booked and a car to pick us up when we push a button on our phone. Imagine some paper shuffler processing our requests and bottlenecking the exchange.
In your own work, take a look around and get rid of waste. You may have more time with automation. That’s a good thing. Now you can take the extra bandwidth and put the energy into the main thing that produces results for your customers.
Look across your business. It’s required that you eliminate waste. Consider Toyota’s Taiichi Ohno’s moral stance in growing your business, “It is not an exaggeration that in a low growth period, such waste is a crime against society more than a business loss. Eliminating waste must be a business’ first objective.”
Quick Waste Elimination Tips:
- Write out the steps you do from attracting a customer all the way to putting money in your bank account. What steps can be removed or modified?
- Write down all the software and apps you use. Get rid of 20% of them.
- Find the 10% of best customers you have. Meet with them and do bigger deals.
- Get rid of paper. Move information into systems.
- Make it easier for a customer to buy from you or get support. Increase the speed and responsiveness.
- Design a continuous recruiting process for talent.
- Define who you like to work with. Only work with those people.