Our previous post focused on the value and importance of achieving “quick wins” when engaged in Continuous Improvement. Continuing with the theme of time, today’s post takes the concept of working on the right things to a different level, and focuses on studying and more effectively using the most universal and, arguably, most valuable component of work and work processes: time.
When we are faced with the challenge of evaluating and improving a business, we have many metrics to choose from. We can ‘follow the money’ — study the spending: where does it go, how does it compare to previous periods or to competitors; we may look at market share or wallet share; we might measure revenue per employee or benchmark against the competition; or we might measure customer satisfaction or the customer experience.
But one of the most powerful measurements for helping to make breakthrough improvements is also one of the simplest: following where the time goes.
By determining how much time it takes to complete a cycle of value (i.e., building a widget, closing the books, making a sale, completing a project, etc.) and how much of that is truly adding value, an organization captures information that provides a motivating vision and road map for making improvements.
Key areas to study are: delays, over-processing, rework, transportation, and inspection; and using time as a measure to find and focus opportunities for improvement has three big advantages:
- time drives important business results
- time is universally applicable
- it is very simple to do — measuring time is something anyone can do!
Our next post will take a deeper-dive into the concept of measuring time, and will share some specific and proven methods for making improvements by studying the use of time.