Often business owners see something that tells them that something different needs to be done. Perhaps it is a recurring problem or realizes that the business is not reaching financial goals. What is the solution? You need to identify what areas need change and prioritize. How can you create changes? There are two major ways to create change: innovation and continuous improvement.
More often than not, innovation is a high-cost solution. While it is necessary to keep yourself ahead of the game, I like to start somewhere else. My first stop in creating improvements is to use common sense, low-cost solutions.
What are common-sense solutions? It is to approach a problem using good judgment. For example, let’s use one of my favorite low-cost tools: housekeeping and organization. Will you agree that keeping a clean and organized workplace is common-sense? Why do you think it is? Perhaps because you know some of the following facts:
- Clutter and disorganization are against productivity, reduces the ability to concentrate.
- A messy workplace causes anxiety, stress, and has the potential to foster a negative state of mind, like feeling overwhelmed.
Your good judgment tells you that an efficient workplace is cleaned and organized. A lack of cleaning and organization is a visual indicator of inefficiency. You know that this condition has to change.
To improve housekeeping, you can buy a fancy computerized program or use a simple low-cost solution. Your new high-cost application will help you to create checklists, assign responsibilities and follow up on the cleaning activities. But it will not help you to ensure the workplace is clean and organized.
An alternative is to use 5S, a housekeeping and organization program. This program along with waste elimination and standardization are the basics of practicing continuous improvement. CI is about creating small changes using common-sense solutions that are easy to implement and follow. When you add up all those changes you will see a huge improvement in the overall performance of your business.