By Eric Shaffer
To be an effective leader, it is important to weed out waste and focus on those activities that really matter. Waste is the destroyer of time, energy, and company profits. It is estimated that 95% of the time in an average working day is spent on waste.
What is waste? Waste is anything that does not add customer value, the customer is not willing to pay for, does not add to the net benefit, sits, is stored, is overproduced, or is reworked.
In essence, if there is activity that does not add net value and meet customer expectations for quality and timeliness, then it is waste.
A VP was concerned that one of his company’s main products was underperforming. He had a theory it was related to the product’s old marketing campaign, so he asked the marketing director to see if the campaign could be refreshed.
The director of marketing assigned a young marketing manager to work on the product campaign. Once it was completed, he reviewed the new campaign with the director. The director asked the manager if he had done research to understand the campaign’s expected effectiveness and if there was a means of measurement.
The director was disappointed to find out the manager did not completely investigate the potential effectiveness of the campaign and there were no plans to measure the results. The director asked the manager to reassess the campaign and develop a measurement system, as launching the campaign to an entire sales force could potentially be a waste of the time for the company, sales reps, and customers.
Waste is like throwing a pebble in a pond. The splash may be small, but it has a ripple effect that spreads across the entire pond.
Simple Ways To Identify Waste
1. Does the activity meet a customer requirement? If your customer was on the conference call, in the meeting room, or on the manufacturing floor with you, would they want to pay for the meeting, activity, or procedure? If you answer no to these questions, or you have to take time to justify why the activity would meet customer needs, then it is probably waste.
2. Does the activity add value? Does it make your company money? Does it increase the net value of your company? If your answers are all no, then it is probably waste.
3. Do you have a lot of paperwork or emails sitting on your desk or in your inbox? What would happen if they did not get acted upon? If they have no connection to company income or customer needs, then they are waste.
Waste is a revenue killer and customer turnoff. Eliminate what the customer does not want and does not want to pay for, and focus on the revenue-generating activities.
For more than 16 years, Eric Shaffer has been successfully leading and developing the next generation of leaders in business, sales, and healthcare. He is a magna cum laude business graduate and certified Lean Six Sigma Black Belt. He champions the idea that great leaders value their people and their clients. Years of accolades from colleagues, employees, and clients attest to his commitment to produce lasting high performance.