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Do you have time to prepare (in order to become super productive)?

I had a funny conversation a few weeks ago with a team that was complaining about one of their colleagues spending 'ages' preparing their workstation within their factory. I meet a lot of people that spend too long preparing (and effectively procrastinating) so I was intrigued by their comment. It turns out that this individual didn't spend too long but rather his colleagues dived into their work without thinking through what the best way to work was...

The slower to start gentleman did in fact prepare his work area. He was also able to produce a far greater amount of work in the same time period because he had invested in a smarter way of working than his counterparts. The time spent preparing his working area was valuable and not overdone.

This example reminds us of the importance of the second S in 5S (set in order) and how workstation design is critical if we want to maximise the productivity of our teams. Whether this is a physical work area in a factory, the filing systems in an office or the server / data warehouse setup that we all use each and every day.



Once the team had effectively answered their own question about why this individual didn't just throw himself into his work like the rest of them did we talked about the learning points from this discussion. The team pulled out a few of the generic setup improvements that everyone could benefit from that wouldn't take too long; in essence they were optimising the situation to maximise their overall productivity.

Whether this example can directly relate to your business, or not, what preparation can your business do more effectively that is linked to the 'production' element of your activities? If you stand back and watch how your team operate you might be able to see some obvious tasks that could be eliminated if the preparation is more effective.

It's worth taking a look!


Giles


About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes. Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.