Operations
With some rare exceptions, it’s not easy to run a business. Most require an effective business system, which even if successful, must constantly be checked and adjusted to respond to competition and other changes in the operating environment. Not every employee will have an MBA, so they must be able to follow the system without continual training, yet also be empowered to make decisions that are going to affect revenue and costs. They must be trustworthy, but also trusted.
Waste not, want not. It's not that anyone really argues for inefficiency, it's just that waste inevitably creeps into the operations of even the best business systems, and in fact is almost impossible to fully eliminate. The real question is, at what point does the cost to improve efficiency equal or exceed its expected benefit? And perhaps just as importantly, how was that point calculated, and does it change periodically?
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Quality and efficiency would seem to go together, but in fact the opposite can be true. The reason is cost. Many production managers have learned the old adage, "Is it good enough?" because it can be impossible to get anything perfect in reality. We tend to like perfecting a thing or service in terms of process, and then working with customers to see what could be scaled-back so that the to buy cost is acceptable to them. We start with the best and use customers opinions to tell us to reduce only what's needed, when needed, if needed. This way, if something isn't good enough, you already know what you need to do to make it better, maximizing quality while advancing production costs only if truly necessary.
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It doesn't matter if you are the king of your industry, or fighting to get there. The outwitting never stops, and it often involves thinking not only about competitors, but customers, suppliers, service providers and regulators. There are also internal challenges, like workflows, accidents, training, sickness, breakdowns and the occasional 100-year incidents, which strangely occur more frequently than that. The best plan of action is...to have several plans of action, both what you want to do, and what you may have to respond to.
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