The Lost Coin
Many businesses lose thousands of dollars each year due to mess and clutter; not to mention the tension it causes those who are forced to spend their days dealing with it—living in it!
I hope you’ll indulge me, telling you an ancient Bible story about a woman who lost a very valuable coin. You might imagine, she was very distraught! The woman searched frantically all over her house to find the missing coin, but to no avail—for a time.
The fact that "for a time" the woman couldn't find the coin tells me she must have been sort of a hoarder, with lots of disorganized stuff lying around everywhere—closets and drawers stuffed to bursting; shelves piled with junk; tools and other household items heaped haphazardly, etc.
Can you relate? The fact is—that's a picture of my company many years ago, until I discovered a way to fix it!
I recall about 15 years ago, I was very overwhelmed and discouraged with all the mess and clutter in our own printing company. Although I had already learned to use the power of systems for improving quality and service in my business, I had NO CLUE about what to do with the mess. It continued to be a major frustration.
Around that same time, our production manager was thinking to fire one of our most loyal employees, due to the ongoing mess in his work area, no matter how many times the employee was told to "fix it." I had to agree, it was one the most chaotic areas in our company—actually, downright embarrassing (sort of like my own office and desk at that time).
Some people just don't have a natural knack for keeping order, like that employee or even me, the business owner! But, SOMETHING had to be done about it!
So, you wonder, did that woman ever find her lost coin? Yes, she did. But only after deciding to clean her entire house from top to bottom—every room, closets, every shelf and drawer. She swept every corner of her house clean, and finally found her most prized possession. [By the way, for you Bible scholars out there, the story, of course, has a much deeper meaning, but it seemed apropos for this blog—if you’ll indulge me again!]
I wrote extensively in my book System Busters: How to Stop Them In Your Business, how I finally fixed "the mess problem"—not only for that messy, and darned-near UNemployed employee, but in all other areas of my business, so I won't go into detail here—but I will give you a hint:
I did the same thing the lady did who lost her precious coin. I cleaned every shelf and cabinet, and swept the floors. I labeled, filed and sorted for days, and in the process I couldn't believe what we found as we began to perform this extensive cleaning in every department. We uncovered missing tools, valuable parts—and, in fact—in a cabinet in the Prepress Department, I found unopened boxes of film that had expired more than a year before.
As I said in the beginning, many companies lose thousands of dollars a year due to mess and clutter. I encourage you to do as that woman (and even I) did—Clean up the mess!
No, you may not find a valuable coin—but, over several years of dealing with the chaos and the problems it causes, I can assure you, if you measure your losses in dollars, you will be shocked!
One thing I would like to add—cleaning a house or a business is a worthwhile goal; however, without a "SYSTEM" of cleaning, your effort will return to chaos in the blink of an eye.
So, if you are struggling with disorder in your business or your home, I suggest you look into the "5s" program, a system of cleaning taught in lean management.
OR, that you simply read in my book about the "100 percent System of Cleanliness."
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.