PRODUCTIVITY LESSONS FROM THE SWEATSHOP IN MY LIVING ROOM



OK, so I admit that’s a little dramatic. Let me break it down. As you may be aware we are a Leadership Partner of the upcoming Creative Innovation conference in Melbourne. Part of that partnership involves providing an item for the goody bag for the delegates. And so it was, that we found ourselves sat on my living room floor (husband also enrolled in the process), unwrapping, taking apart, adding a tag and re-wrapping 650 items. To be honest it’s one of those tasks you don’t think will take very long until you start doing it. And then you start imagining having to quit your job and maybe completing it a couple of minutes before you die.


About 50 items in we realised that the conference would have come and gone before we would have this done if we kept doing it the way we were doing it. And so, as we do from time to time particularly late in the evening, we decided to run one of our programs on ourselves.


We started to look at the process and identified where the most time consuming task was. We then took apart that task and found ways to build in task repetition – thereby reducing the total amount of time taken for that task. Finally, we used that task to set the tempo of the overall production, and rearranged the ordering of tasks to create the most efficient production line. And would you believe it – 3 nights later we were finished!


So what’s my point? It’s so easy to accept that certain tasks take a certain amount of time – even when it creates huge problems and inconveniences. However, through examining current processes and redesigning them to be more efficient you can free up resources and reclaim precious time to do things like write blogs about the time you’ve saved. And this can be what makes or breaks a business in these hyper-competitive times.


So what can you take from this story? Look at your processes and do the following:


1. Identify the most time consuming task in the input flow. This can be physical production or rendering a service. This is the critical task for your business.


2. Use this task to set the tempo of the rest of the production – that is to say the most outputs you can produce at that task is the most your production process can produce at any one time.


3. Redesign this critical task to be the most efficient it can be.


4. Redesign the other inputs in your process to facilitate the leanest possible outcome.


And from this, you will have a lean production process that frees up time and makes your business more competitive.


P.S. To anyone attending the Creative Innovation Conference, please think of our plight when you receive the delegate bags. We assembled them with love, and hope you love them!





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