Halloween is upon us—another year nearly gone! I remember my six brothers and me as boys, chomping at the bit until dark when we could storm the neighborhood with the other kids, in our homemade costumes.
Dad was a pastor, so the season was a bit tamer than for some of our school friends who started early plotting tricks and how to scare the hair off unsuspecting others. For the Beyer boys, it wasn’t about ghosts, goblins, pranks and blood-curdling tales, but about who could get the most candy—something we didn’t get too often!
One way or another, the UNEXPECTED had all our young hearts pounding with anticipation leading up to the Day!
The years have since curbed my excitement and wonder about the “unexpected.” I’m happy to do without certain surprises in my life now—especially my business life. (Such as a scary visit to my company by some regulatory agency, a sudden breakdown in major equipment, or some other monstrous expense, due to a recurring error).
One thing I’ve learned about the “unexpected”—you can EXPECT it! You can save yourself a lot of money and headaches if you know how to prepare! Let me explain.
We might all agree that chaos in business operations causes waste
. Still, some believe “a certain amount of WASTE is to be expected” and “a certain amount of CHAOS is normal.” Truth is, a company that is bleeding its reserves each month owing to high waste ratios is bound to collapse when the unexpected happens. Expect it!Lean management
proponents have identified several kinds of waste that it’s extremely important to eliminate, as much as possible. You can review them (LATER PLEASE, after you finish reading this article.) in this PDF.
The purpose of this article is to focus on OTHER TYPES of waste and their UNEXPECTED COSTS.
I guess every one of us has worked for a company that operates daily in a chaotic environment—messy offices and production areas; confusion over who does what, when; and who’s to blame for the latest mistake. Maybe your very first job, in such a place, convinced you that DISORDER was only “business as usual.” But, if you’re someone who appreciates order, it’s likely that
work experience had an ongoing negative impact on you and your work habits.
Business owners and managers might be surprised to learn how many of their employees have an immaculate home. I respectfully submit that the owner (The Head Steward) of a chaotic business is subjecting those kinds of employees to eight to 10 hours a day of working in a disorganized and stressful mess!
Many times, disorganized and wasteful companies will lose good employees, even ones who are well-paid—all due to the chaos. An employee who wants order in his or her life finds it hard to work in an environment where the owners or managers don't seem to GET IT! I believe such employees would discourage other potential applicants from working at this type of company.
The Unexpected Cost of chaos in a company is almost immeasurable!
Below, I have listed some unexpected costs we experienced in our company—before learning the power of systems, implementing them, and watching them transform our operation. Consider the high cost of the following:
- Running expensive newspaper ads, trying to attract great employees, only to quickly lose them when they are unable to work in such disorder.
- Training and retraining personnel, due to a high level of turnover .
- Seeing great job candidates who (after vetting US) never came aboard, but who might have had a profoundly positive impact on the company’s future.
- Negative employee perception (and talk) about the owner and his business—“If he/she doesn’t give a hang about the mess, then why should I care?”
- Investing in expensive sales and marketing campaigns to attract new customers, only to later lose them due to lack of service and the disorganization the company doesn’t seem to notice.
- Multiple purchases of job materials and company tools that have been lost in the clutter.
- Children (heirs to the business) are afraid to take the reins, because of first-hand experience working in the “family business”—and having seen the stress their parents go through. Who can blame them for not wanting to buy into that life? Ouch! This one even hurt me and mine years ago!
- Speaking of children...calculate the cost of missing many of your children’s events because you, the owner/manager, are often bogged down in chaos and just plain worn out trying to meet deadlines. Sound familiar?
THE GOOD NEWS IS—it doesn’t have to be that way!
You can continue to be haunted by fear of the unexpected—or you can avoid those inevitable high costs by preparing your company for any eventuality, using the power of systems
It starts at the top, with a decision and a commitment to bring your business to order—come Halloween or high water!
I can testify—Great systems work!
Can I get a witness?