Creating Capacity for Growth

When challenged with growth, some organisations tend to find themselves in a situation where they don’t really have the capacity to deliver. This articles discusses some of the few things an organisation can start to think about to create the space to grow.

Reducing the Product Options

This may sound strange but to a certain extent it may be applicable to your organisation. Many products these days are packed with features and options that manufacturers believe really differentiate their product. These features are additional to the core features of the product. Understanding what your customer really wants and removing some additional features creates space in the organisation.

Take a look at this world famous example, where World Foods was selling peeled oranges in plastic containers. Neglecting the fact that oranges already come with a natural container that keeps them fresh and juicy.

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Secondly, you may want to reduce producing things that don’t deliver a business outcome or don’t align to your business strategy. These could be products or services that may have created you profit in the past but are just not applicable to current day demand.

Improve the Way You Do Things

From a lean perspective, this is really about focusing on value adding activities and reducing non-value adding processes. We have seen organisations that have several processes that are duplicated in different ways but still create the same result. You must spend time to identify these and immediately put a stop to them.

We have also seen organisations that have several different ways of doing the same processes in a business. This is where standardisation and operating procedures must be used.

Secondly, think about reducing the number of unnecessary sign-offs and controls in your business. There are many managers that throw unnecessary checks on a process to ensure accountability.

For example: an invoice check in an organisation we reviewed had to undergo six different checks before payout. When we interviewed the people checking the invoice, 4 out of 6 had no data to verify the goods and the amounts. They relied purely on the last person to have done his/her work properly.

Improve Efficiency in the Business

Work levelling is an important to creating capacity in your business. In lean production, Heijunka, removal of fluctuations in the production can be directly applied to your business process. To ensure this, everybody must maintain a good tempo of work within the business. Having people too busy while others are not, is a clear sign that you must address this. Sometimes this may be down to skills gap but smaller tasks can still be undertaken by junior staff.

Secondly,  you want to limit very high peaks of work during some period and not having anything to do during the next. This is a big waste in the organisation. Resourcing correctly for the peak period also reduces stress on your staff. Thereafter maintaining other avenues of work during the low periods allows full utilisation of your resources.

Having a structured approach to these three key points is vital to you being able to create capacity for growth within your business. By mapping your processes in the organisation, assigning process owners and setting KPIs for each process allows you to have insight in where the capacity lies and  when you can take advantage of it.

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