Alberta is in an unprecedented economic time. The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the energy and other sectors is already rippling out, and individual businesses are facing a perfect storm of money-sucking problems.
We’re re-doing our “Deadly Waste” articles—and we’re taking it up a few notches to help you adapt to this storm. The cost-saving ideas in these articles may be uncomfortable, but growing pains can hurt even when we know it’s for the best.
Defects—whether it’s an error in a file, a misdiagnosis, or a poorly built house—can cripple your business. On top of the cost of making it right with your client, your reputation takes a hit that will follow your business around.
Be Careful What You Cut
We’re all in cost-saving mode, and it’s easy for quality control to get caught up in the purge. But remember that your quality control process is what keeps annoying defects from becoming catastrophic.
The people checking quality seem expendable until we realize they’re invaluable. Make sure not to cut corners with this step in your production cycle. The last thing your business needs now is to lose a customer over an avoidable mistake.
The golden rule about defects is that the earlier in the process you catch them, the less expensive they are. It’s easy to assume everything about your production processes is fine, but in times like these, throw “fine” out the window.
Insert yourself into the process. Ask your people how it’s done, and get to know your inner-business operations as intimately as when you first helped build them. You’re not accusing anyone; you’re doing the due diligence that the situation demands.
Find out where people have taken liberties and “tweaked” the processes, then ascertain what impact changes have had on your overall flow. You have the 30,000-foot view: put it to good use to audit the process and root out defects.
Empower Your Team
Your team is as nervous as you are. They know what Alberta’s economy will be like for the next few years, and they want to go the extra mile to make sure their families will weather the storm.
The worst mistake you could make right now is to assume that you’re alone. Your staff have your back more than they ever have. Engage them. Get their thoughts on your existing quality control processes and talk with them openly about how to spot defects.
The importance of mapping your processes comes up repeatedly in our Deadly Waste lessons. Many “deadly wastes” arise when you, as the boss, aren’t clued in. Documented processes give you a window into what’s really going on.
With your process map in hand, find out where the defects are happening. Can you identify the stage at which they’re occurring? If there are multiple, is there a correlation?
If you can trace the source of your defects, you can arrive quickly at a solution. Make a habit of being present—with your team, and throughout your production process—and you’ll breed a culture of high standards.
If you found this article helpful, browse our archive of COVID-19 resources. Keep checking back for news updates, tax advice, and business tips for keeping your business on-track through uncertain times.