Avoid a death spiral!

We see it all the time; another company files for bankruptcy.  It’s so common we don’t even pay much attention to it anymore.  That is, unless you’re a stakeholder of that company.  When someone loses money on an investment or loses their job, it can be difficult to understand what happened.  The reality, in most cases, is that that company didn’t practice continuous improvement.

Even the most profitable companies must continually review their processes and find ways to cut costs.  Referred to as the key to success, process improvement helps companies stay lean.  Let’s look at the top 3 ways continuous process improvement can help your company:

#1.  Fixing bottlenecks:  Bottlenecks in the supply chain can destroy a company.  Elon Musk has mentioned bottlenecks in regards to Tesla production many times.  Their newest plant was even designed in a way that eliminates the problem.  But how can you fix the problem if you don’t have the money to spend on logistical concerns?  By employing the pull technique first pioneered by Toyota many years ago.  While the concept is to details to discuss here, hiring a few Lean Six Sigma experts can help determine the best route to profitability.

#2.  Have your end goal in mind:  When you run a company to need to think years in advance.  What are your competitors doing that you’re not?  What new product is in the pipeline that could disrupt your business model?  If you can find these issues years in advance, you’ll have time to plan for them.  Business leaders like Mark Zuckerberg and the late Steve Jobs were famous for this skill.  They know what people want years before they want it.

#3.  Always focus on the bottom line:  You need to be aware of your profit margins at all times.  If they slip by a few percentage points, you need to act quickly.  Being able to change rapidly is an advantage that only the most agile companies enjoy.  Use smaller Kaizen project,s or Sprints, to quickly analyze and improve departments.

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