The Unexpected Cost of Chaos

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.

Philip Beyer, founder/president of Beyer Printing and Ebiz Products LLC in Nashville, TN, is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant, author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business," and an InterTech Award recipient for the design and development of System100™ business process management software. Philip speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses.
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