How many people are there in your business that don't ask for help?
Most times this is a good sign, people know what they need to do and they get on with it.
What about the people who do need help and don't ask?
I have had countless experiences of finding people needing help, but not asking for it.
Perhaps it is pride, embarrassment, or just not knowing that help is available. Who knows what it really is for individual cases, but the issue still remains; people who need support should be paired up with someone / something that can help.
So whilst we have lots of really clever computer programs at our disposal and lots of improvement methodologies we can adopt there is still the original and hugely effective tool that we all have available - conversation.
Investing just a few minutes in a meaningful, work related, conversation can open up all kinds of opportunities to help colleagues or to improve a business process. A conversation is often the mechanism that kicks off continuous improvement projects.
But, a conversation can take time. It might be a few minutes over a few months. And, it might be immediate. You can't tell. One thing is guaranteed however, don't have these sorts of conversations and you will find it more difficult to truly improve as a business.
So, if you find yourself hiding behind spreadsheets and complaining about not having enough time then perhaps it is time (ironically) to go and speak to some people. Find out what is going on elsewhere and find out how you can make one single business improve, it may just help you out at the same time.
...optimising MRP systems and re-engineering business processes