Production efficiency is not easy and studies show most companies are squandering 50% of their key resources—labor and equipment.
At a consumer goods packaging plant employees gathered every morning and waited for the Production Manager’s signal to begin their shift. This wasn’t a matter of overly earnest workers arriving early to get a jump start on a day’s work, but was the result of the overnight sanitation crew taking longer than their allotted time to clean the facility for the morning shift. This morning ritual of arriving and waiting had been practiced for as long as most employees could remember, to the point where it was an accepted part of a typical work day. The sanitation crew was allocated four hours every night to clean the plant and turn it over to production in the morning. They typically exceeded this allotted time by 45 minutes to an hour.
In your search for process innovation that will drive sustainable performance improvement, scheduling your business may not be the first thing to come to mind -- but it should be. Done right, it can help expose the delta between current performance and potential performance levels, and serve as a catalyst for bringing together separate functional areas and aligning them to a set of clear objectives.
The budget is the property guide to revenue, cost, and hotel profitability requirements. The aim is to forecast revenue and cost taking into consideration such factors as seasonality, rate, and mix. The setting of labor standards provides a framework to identify the hours required to service demand. All too often, labor standards fall into the trap of process redundancy and lack of scientific rigor leading to inflated costs and/or service breakdowns.
Costly alignment issues tend to reveal themselves at the point of execution, but the root causes can often be traced back to poor planning.
Having a plan is great, but a plan is never perfect. Sticking to a pre-determined plan even when your assumptions prove to be wrong, or unforeseen external factors enter the picture, can result in operational challenges and unsatisfied internal and external customers. Planning and forecasting is not a discrete task that is ever really complete, but an ongoing process that requires constant feedback and intelligence. For restaurant managers, poor forecasting and planning can cause over or under staffing, which can in turn lead to service breakdowns, unsatisfied guests, disengaged employees and inconsistent profitability.
A myriad of research studies and our own observation has demonstrated that culture is critical to corporate performance. Understanding the importance of culture to performance is certainly not a recent area of interest for leaders, as Peter Drucker observed years ago, “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. His point was not that strategy is irrelevant, but that culture can kill a great idea or strategy at the point of execution. We have found that the root cause of breakdowns in execution can be traced to a lack of organizational alignment, and that addressing alignment can be the starting point for turning the culture.
Front Office Staffing Challenges
"Boiling the ocean" is one of those phrases that can be quite accurate but is still slightly irritating to use or hear. It refers to analyzing something to death or tackling a problem with an impossible scope. And it's an easy trap to fall into when you are looking for opportunities. The usual reason for doing what inevitably ends up as a waste of time is the lack of a hypothesis. If you go searching for opportunity without some idea of what you are trying to determine, you may well have someone throw this phrase your way.
Over the years we've done a number of studies to try to help our clients find out what their customers think of them. These types of studies are often packaged under the term "voice of the customer." The idea is to survey customers to identify their key buying attributes and their priorities, and see how the company stacks up against competitors and alternatives. They are also quite predictable in many industries. Managers are also surveyed; they often score themselves highly. And so do customers. Companies often fare quite well with existing customers, and even with non-customers, on many important attributes. The problem is that competitors fare well too.
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