Fixer Upper For Your Messy Business
Have you lost something in your business — maybe thousands of dollars each year due to your chronically messy operation? Truth is, DISORDER causes undue stress for those forced to spend their workdays dealing with it and living in it.
There’s an ancient story about a woman who once lost an extremely valuable coin. It was her livelihood, after her husband died. Distraught, the woman searched frantically all over her house to find the missing coin, but to no end — at least for a time.
Could be, “for a time” suggests the woman was sort of a hoarder with lots of disorganized stuff lying around everywhere. Picture closets and drawers stuffed to bursting; shelves piled with junk; tools and other household items heaped haphazardly.
Could that be a picture of your business?
Fact is, that was a picture of my own company, about 20 years ago, before I found a permanent way to fix it!
Fixing Your Messy Business
Back then, I was overwhelmed and discouraged with all the mess and clutter in my business. Oh, I had learned to use the power of systems for improving quality and service. However, I had NO CLUE about what to do with my messy business, and the lack of order and cleanliness continued to be a major frustration.
Around the same time, our production manager was thinking about firing one of our most loyal employees, due to the ongoing mess in his work area. It seemed, no matter how many times he was told to “fix it,” nothing changed. His department was one of the MOST chaotic areas in our company. Actually, his area was downright embarrassing — not unlike my own office and desk then, I have to admit!
Some people just don’t have a natural knack for keeping order, like that employee, and even me, the business owner. Consequently, SOMETHING had to be done about it!
You might wonder — did that woman ever find her lost coin? Yes, she did, but only after shining a light on the problem and cleaning her entire house from top to bottom — every room, closet, shelf and drawer. She swept every corner clean, and finally found her most prized possession.
How I Fixed My Mess
In my book, System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business, I wrote extensively about how we finally fixed the mess problem. We didn’t do it just for that messy (and nearly UN-employed) employee, but for ALL areas of our business; not to mention our sanity! I’ll spare you the detail here.
However, here’s a hint … we did just what the woman did who lost her valuable coin!
To begin with, we cleaned the place from top to bottom — every office, closet, cabinet and drawer, under and around machines, you name it. Then we LABELED, FILED and SORTED for days. In the process, I couldn’t believe what we found during this extensive cleaning in every department. Missing tools and valuable parts were uncovered. For example, in a prepress department cabinet, we found unopened boxes of expensive film that had expired more than a year before.
Again I ask, is yours one of those companies that loses thousands of dollars a year, due to mess and clutter, like mine was?
Then I encourage you to do as I and that ancient woman finally had to do.
Clean up your Messy Business!
You may not discover a valuable coin, but, believe me, if you continue with your messy business, and measure your losses in dollars, you will be shocked!
HOWEVER, there’s more to know about thoroughly cleaning a business! Truth is, without a SYSTEM of cleaning, your efforts will likely return to chaos in short order!
If you’re looking for a fixer-upper that will last on-going, I suggest you look into the “5s” program, a system of cleaning taught in lean management.
Did I mention? Great Systems Work!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.