A person can’t turn on the news or surf the web without hearing about labor shortages for office, service, production, and warehousing and logistics positions. As with any capacity and workload imbalance, adding capacity is certainly one solution to the problem. Right now, it seems like every firm is trying to add labor to increase capacity across skills and classes.The other option, the one not receiving near as much press, is to reduce the workload on the existing resources. The best way to reduce workload has always been to eliminate the waste associated with non-value-added activities. As your organization ponders hiring to increase the supply side of labor equation, M&M Business Solutions suggests taking efforts to reduce the demands on your labor resources by eliminating waste. Here are some examples of waste we’ve witness in recent experiences.
1. Eliminate duplicate data entry – We’re working with a client right now streamlining its procurement process. The current state process map shows, for example, that the material planner reviews the MRP output and then types up an email which he sends to the buyer listing the needed materials. The buyer then enters the needs in the ERP system by manually creating a Purchase Order, effectively the second entry of these needs that MRP already identified. The planner could, instead, simply convert the MRP recommendation into a PO that the buyer could approve and send to the supplier.
These modestly improved, not even optimal, approaches could save the client’s buyer and warehouse staff several hours per day, not enough to save an entire employee, of course, but enough to reduce some overtime. There are dozens or hundreds of examples like this in this company and many other companies. Streamline them all, and a company can achieve the same impact as adding staff without the added headcount costs.
2. Automate notifications and approvals – Many companies’ processes depend on one person notifying another via email to advance the process. Similarly, approval cycles often move documents with physical signatures around the organization via email.