What’s the most creative way to save costs within your business?

Of course, Manuel’s answer is a good and above all meaningful way to save both costs and our environment!For me, the question is always: how do you tackle this? How do you get the people involved? This is more about the way of leadership and the real involvement of the employees.

So much more
In addition to raw materials, there are so many other things that can be arranged better and more efficiently, but most managers and directors do not have a clue how to become more efficient and more effective.The spreadsheets do show that it is not efficient but not why.

The employee is the key
In order to make an organisation truly effective and efficient, it is important that the employees, who can have the most influence on this because they are dealing with problems, ineffectiveness and inefficiency on a daily basis, are able and To make improvements.

And at that last, dare, it usually goes wrong.Many employees have become numbed and indifferent (see investigations of Gallup, among others, showing time and again that often only 10 -20% of employees feel really involved). Those employees are all enthusiastic about it and after a year or two they are being knocked off. How can that be?

Sit still when shaved
Those employees come in a system where there is not much movement in it.This movement is due to continuous new strategies and reorganisations, which often change the real cause of inefficiencies. What happened, however, is that the employees become uncertain. At times of uncertainty, you will not experiment with ideas to make your own work easier, better, faster and cheaper. Imagine that it does not work? And what if it works, then they need less people anyway…

This fluctuation in the number of employees arises because if there is more work, everyone complains about the workload.The “solution” put on the table by everyone is “accepting more people”. The department managers are in their feet because their department grows and that gives status and the employees are happy that there is finally more support. This growth continues until it appears that the efficiency and effectiveness of that department has subsided. The more employees the more mutual interaction and complexity there is and the more support services are needed. The top looks at the spreadsheets and calls STOP! There will be a reorganization plan and 20% should look like. “Do more with less!” Everyone is back on the tip of the Chair. Who flies out again now? No wonder the staff hit numbed and get knocked off.

Can it be any different?
Yes, but that requires a completely different approach.One where the employee is not a “thing” on the balance sheet that you can get from it with a pen stroke, but the solution to the problems. As the workload increases, you’ll immediately investigate how the work can be safer, healthier, easier, better, faster, cheaper and with more satisfaction and satisfaction done WITH THE SAME AMOUNT OF PEOPLE. So don’t hire people, train them and then dismiss them again, but with the same people get more done in a fun and stress-free way.

Peter Drucker, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”
A nice story, but that’s not going to work because people have resistance to change!Sure. If the summit calls that the employees SHOULD change. The summit never calls for them to change, and this is the key. If you want the employees to work on improvements, they must have certainty that they will not be on the street the next day because they have improved their own job.

Taiichi Ohno
In the years 50 of the last century, Toyota was right In front of a bankrupt.The Auro’s were lousy and they were incredibly inefficient. At that time, Dr. W. Edwards Deming gave lectures in Japan on continuous improvement, but mainly on the necessary culture to make this possible. Taiichi Ohno is affecting this. He proclaimed that: “No employee would lose his/her job when they participated in his plan” in addition, he said “from now on, we work with respect for people, the community and the environment”. Taiichi Ohno’s philosophy (which is based on Dr. W. Edwards Deming 14 points) led to the most remarkable development of a small company with lousy cars, to (one of) the largest car manufacturers in the world, with a celebrated reliability and Quality. What made this possible? The culture in which fear (for dismissal, accusations or mistakes) was eliminated and replaced by continuous improvement of the processes. This improvement is not done by new strategies or plans that are conceived in the boardroom (which rarely work), but by the employees themselves. The philosophy is known as Toyota Production System (TPS). The Western “translation” is called LEAN. But unfortunately, LEAN only deals with the methods, (almost) not about the culture that is necessary to make this really work.

Paul O’Neill
That Toyota has no exclusive right to success due to respect for the employees, Paul O’Neill showed in the 80ER years at Alcoa.Alcoa, an aluminium smelter, was not profitable when O’Neill took over the helm. The Wall Street investors asked O’Neill how he wanted to tackle these losses. O’Neill’s Answer: “we are going to focus first on the safety of our employees.I want to make sure that there are no more deaths and injuries and that our employees can do their work in a safe environment. “The Wall Street investors did not know how quickly they had to sell their Alcoa shares, as there was now a luggeed hippie on the wheel. The staff were hit. At last someone was at the head who found their work important. The staff were asked to help with ideas to make the work safer. In the process of making work safer the processes were also improved and optimized. Within two years, Alcoa was profitable again and the following years the trend only went up. The investors pulled the hair out of their heads that they had let this opportunity go.

The managers do not know half how much profit can be achieved from continuous improvement.But that only works if you have treated the employees with respect and take away the fear of dismissal, accusations and mistakes made. And above all, the latter makes that almost every CEO prefers to muddles and announces the next reorganization, then the road of Toyota (or Alcoa).

P.S. I’ve also fired people, but after I’ve really tried everything (training, coaching, other role, etc).The other employees will see how pure you work and that you give someone a real chance over many months. Then the farewell is not fun, but the other employees know that it is also better for them and that everyone is important and always treated fair and with respect. This way people gain confidence and dare to make improvements themselves, which makes their work safer, healthier, easier, better, faster, cheaper and with more satisfaction and satisfaction. We all reap the rewards.

Unfortunately, I might just tell 10% of how you can setup this in practice with, among other things, weekly one-on-one conversations, daily team stand-up meetings, A3/PDSA/Kata Coaching, going to the Gemba, Value stream mapping, 5S, Standard work, 3:1 and 1:3 Rule, etc.Etc. Etc. But the most important are not the tools, but is the right culture!

Waste is a raw material.The cradle to cradle principle of zero waste.

Waste can be seen as a raw material.Investigate which waste streams you have in your business and how you could prevent it or how you can make this waste back a commodity.

In case of toxic waste, you can analyse your production process and investigate whether you can produce with other substances that make your waste safe and therefore reusable.

Investigate other costs as well.If you work a lot with paper and a lot of print, you can use a economical font to save a lot on ink.

So it starts by analyzing what your biggest costs are and then brainstorming how you can tackle this.1 advice, don’t do it alone, but involve everyone in your business.

(To be able to give a better answer I should know what kind of business it is.)

A nice informative docu here is the video below.

Make use of the tools at your disposal!Detect the Internet for new software/services that you can use to improve your efficiency. Many services that were first only option for big-budget companies are now a lot more accessible. For example, take a look at outsourcing your back-office, and how you can save on it: Outsourcing to a virtual assistant for growth and Cash Flow-avirtual

Good luck!

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