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.
But we’re also Albertans. We adapt, and we survive. In 2020, we will adapt faster than we ever have before—we have no other option.
We talk a lot about how to cut the deadly wastes to save money. Over the next couple of months, we’re re-doing our “Deadly Waste” articles, only we’re taking it up a few notches in order to be your partner in adapting 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. We hope this helps.
Overprocessing happens when you expend more labour producing a product than you’ll recoup when you make the sale. It can be accidental or deliberate, but it’s all waste.
It can also become so baked into your processes that you can’t see it anymore. But in times like these, we have to learn how to see it.
We can’t adapt to a situation if we don’t understand it. If you’ve delegated so much away that you’ve lost touch with the details of what you’re delivering, it’s time to dig back in.
If you’re overprocessing, you usually have the option of raising pricing or trimming the product. In an economy on the edge, raising prices is not a good idea. Meet with your team and get back in touch with every detail of your products. What are you delivering that’s essential? And what are you delivering that you can cut out?
Good people want to produce good results. You want a team that cares personally about delivering the best that they can for your customers.
That also creates tension. They care about the product first, and the economics second. As the boss, you’re probably the opposite. If you leave your team unchecked, overprocessing will creep up. It means your team is doing their job over and above, but for survival’s sake, you need to intervene.
Have a talk with all of them about economic realities. Be honest and frank—human to human. Cut the passive voice and corporate BS. They’re as worried as you are, and they need a leader who can lay down clear expectations.
The economic situation isn’t improving in a few months. Whatever changes you make to your deliverables need to endure. You’ve spent
the time deep-diving, now it’s time to move on and let your team execute.
Make sure you document the new, slimmed-down process. You want a codified way to keep the pieces you have cut out, out (and make sure your team understands that this is actually a compliment to them!).
Then, go onto the next deliverable, one at a time, starting with the most common. Don’t take shortcuts; take the time you need to review, cut, and document before moving on. This way you can feel comfortable with your pace, knowing you don’t have to look over your shoulder.