Simon Bastin-Mitchell, Director of Bastin-Mitchell Consulting, gives his view on how optimising with less can lead to increased revenue and profit growth for your vehicle recycling business.
You use as much as you want when there are no restrictions or plenty of it, but when there are only those few sheets left and you can’t get your hands on any because supply is low, we still somehow work out how to get the job done, how is that?
Learn, Adapt and Evolve
If you are standing still, you are being left behind, with our current COVID-19 challenges, now is the time to work out how to achieve and get the job done with what we are left with. It is time to learn, adapt and evolve. By working out how to optimise what we do with less, you will increase your revenues and grow your profits.
It could be down to the way you package your parts, the fuel supplier you are using for your recovery trucks, to the time from which an employee clocks in and they start answering the phone. A business should be constantly reviewing its policies and processes to ensure that they are maximising revenues and reducing overheads where possible but not to the detriment of the business.
‘Question status quo’ and I do not mean the music by the band! Just because you are doing it one way, does not always make it the right way.
A great example of reducing costs came about from being short-staffed and working with the teams to get the sold parts out the door. Going through the process together, we picked the parts, packed them and loaded them onto the courier vehicle to be shipped. At the end of the day, we talked about the challenges the team faced and brainstormed on how to improve the way we worked, which would hopefully save time and money.
By taking a step back and reviewing how we worked, we were able to start batching our jobs, we gave them dedicated times to be achieved by throughout the day, we looked at how and who was best to wrap the parts and we worked out how to minimise the wastage of the consumables used.
After some fine-tuning, we were able to complete the same work in two-thirds of the time and in turn saved 20% on consumables used each day, and we all know how much bubble wrap costs and the space it takes up.
One of the biggest unpredicted knock-on effects from this simple process was that we were able to reallocate employees when the jobs were completed, meaning other departments benefited from another’s efficiency. This also reduced the need to add other heads to the business. By learning, adapting and evolving, the business became more productive and more profitable.
What is a great way to question the status quo?
- Empower and educate the person or people responsible. From the cleaner to the dismantler, everyone within the business should know what their personal goals are, and what the goals and vision of the company are.
- Set out clear and simple budgets for each department and challenge them to achieve these goals
- Incentivise them for over-achieving; if they save you 20% because of the team’s hard work, why not share some of that saving – engaged employees are the best employees
- Set out a weekly review policy that requires them or their team to review one area of the department each week. Once reviewed, send feedback to senior management for further assessment and implementation
- Train them on knowing the right questions to ask. Who, what, why, where, and when? These are all open questions and give answers that cannot simply be answered yes or no:
- What is the current price of diesel?
- Who do we use?
- Why do we use them?
- What is their price compared to other suppliers?
- Who else to we use to compare prices?
- What other benefits do we get for changing?
- When do we check out fuel prices?
- What are the savings?
- What is the cost of moving?
- Brainstorming, this is a key ingredient to the process that will generate you lots of ideas. By getting the team together and thrashing out those ideas, it will improve the understanding of what is needed to achieve them.
These are just a few ways on working out how to optimise our time, can you afford not to assess where you are right now?
By questioning the status quo, you are either improving the way you operate or you are validating what you already know, plus it will help you reduce the chances of walking in and finding only two sheets left.