Ah, spring! A great time for cleaning and breathing fresh air into your organization. Lean into your spring cleaning by applying the principles of lean manufacturing to your organization.
Wait, what?!? How do manufacturing concepts apply to my world?
Are you or your organization ever busy, busy, busy…without much positive result to show for it? Do you grapple with rising costs and lowering participation? If so, then you might benefit from the lean practice of rooting out muda, the Japanese word for waste.
In lean lingo, waste is anything that is adding no value—i.e., does not contribute to meeting or exceeding the customer’s expectations. Consider these issues as you seek to reduce any muda mucking up your mission:
- Over-Production—Are you offering ever-increasing numbers of programs but experiencing ever-decreasing levels of engagement? Scrutinize your programs and services. Which ones are most cost-effective in terms of member benefit and organizational revenue? Offer fewer, higher quality options to focus resources on high-return ventures.
- Inventory—Weed out physical contents from chaotic supply closets. Also check the quantity and quality of content you provide online. Is your web presence current, complete, and correct? Can members—especially prospective members—easily access the information they need?
- Wasted Motion—Is every step of every process really necessary? Are all the handoffs actually valuable? Remove useless tasks whenever possible. How about you? Are you micromanaging every decision and action, becoming your own worst bottleneck? If so, learn to delegate and trust your staff.
- Waiting—Apply classic time-management tools and techniques to keep processes moving forward. A nifty by-product of removing wasted motion (above) is that it also generally reduces waiting. Make sure everyone responds promptly to member needs. It’s certainly not wise to keep them
- Conveyance—Do you or your members waste time traveling to events? Try teleconferencing and webinars to conduct meetings or offer programs that allow participants to use remote access.
- Over-Processing—Demanding excruciating levels of perfection on every little thing usually yields diminishing returns. After all, you don’t need a Rolls Royce to take the kids to McDonald’s—a Kia will do just fine!
- Non-Right First Time (i.e., scrap, rework, and defects)—Do your people understand their jobs and have the skills to do them right? Do you coach staff and volunteers so that they know what’s expected and how to achieve it with minimal mistakes? Some errors are inevitable, but everything you do that avoids them is a savings.
- Under-Utilization of People—Is everyone on your team a good fit for the mission of the organization and for the team environment you want to enjoy? Is everyone serving in a role that builds on their strengths and allows them to find joy and purpose in their work? The more fulfilled and engaged the staff is, the more satisfied and engaged your members will be!
Good luck in minding muda and wrangling waste. Success there will help you spring forward into a productive and profitable year!