Doing More With What You Have

Re: Don Pitts article Aug 5, 2022

Business quest to do more with fewer workers confronts productivity puzzle | CBC News

Great article. Great perspectives by the author and the experts on productivity. However, the productivity puzzle is one of the simplest puzzles to solve – if leadership wants to solve it.

Over the past few decades, we have assisted companies of all sizes, in both public and private sectors, to assess their existing operations/processes with the goal of designing a future state that will

  1. allow them to accomplish more with what they have, and
  2. provide more value to their clients.

In fact, in all these years, there has not been one organization that had more “value-added” than “waste” in their system. This finding is not saying they are badly run organizations, in fact it is the opposite, each of them realized there was opportunity to improve. The key for each of them was in learning how to ‘see’ the waste and then how to remove it systemically using an effective structured approach – an approach/methodology which analyzes and creates a solid, doable, plan that as a team, they could execute.

There is no mystery to successful transformation. Everyone can do it. You just need to have the passion, and commitment, to tweak your thinking and recognize that you can do things dramatically better.

The article starts off with the challenge that leaders in all sectors “Can’t find people to fill empty jobs”. Let’s not make this perception seem like an insurmountable problem – it is NOT.

Let’s first ask the question – how many people do you really need if you are able to remove some of the ‘waste’ activities in the system?

If processes are broken, doesn’t it make sense to fix the broken processes first? Determining first and foremost what/where/why it is broken from end-to-end, and then establish how many more people or additional technology is needed to support the new processes. Buying technology, adding people/resources to the old, inefficient processes seems a little reckless and foolish. It would be the same as your doctor prescribing a treatment for an ailment without understanding the background, the cause, and the results of analysis and even what the treatment might do to other areas of your body. It is a misguided approach (a mistake) to add a solution, or multiple solutions, without knowing the ‘real’ need of the system. That will only result in no impact, or even making the problem worse.

All organizations should understand what they need to support an efficient operation before they look for the magical immediate solution, and throw more money, labour and technology at an inefficient environment. Without exception, organizations find, if they do a proper assessment, they don’t really need additional staff, space and equipment they initially estimated. This strategy ensures we spend money (usually our tax money), effectively. The result is you discover you can ‘do more with what you have, and do it better and faster’. Isn’t that the goal?

Throwing more money at a problem without proper analysis doesn’t, and hasn’t, worked. It actually increases the problem, and creates more ‘waste’.