Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable. - William Pollard
Efficiency issues impact the supply chain every day in the logistics industry, and sometimes it can be tough to spot them when you’re too close to the problem areas. Whether you’re overwhelmed by work in a different area of the company or simply used to doing things a certain way, you might miss little problems that have a big effect on efficiency in your operations. That’s where a continuous improvement expert comes in handy. A distanced eye and years of experience will go a long way toward filling in the procedural gaps, and making adjustments that can save your company time and money.
A continuous improvement expert will typically be rational and analytical, capable of stepping back and assessing how each component of your business adds to or detracts from its efficiency. They focus on process as well as results, tending to be both detail-oriented and big picture thinkers. Above all, they excel at communication, leveraging the experiences of daily operations staff to help improve any processes that might be flawed. They strive for perfection, and won’t be happy until they’ve found and implanted it.
Here are four benefits you’ll gain from bringing a continuous improvement expert on board at your company.
Knowledge & Experience
Typically this role is filled by someone who has a long history of industry experience. The longer they’ve been in the industry, the more dilemmas and issues they’ve been exposed to. Chances are that they’ve seen similar problems at other companies, and know exactly how to address them. If they don’t have experience with a particular issue, they know someone who does.
A good CI has experience managing projects, and can anticipate common common issues that go along with the poor execution of a project. This allows them to put preventative measures in place so problems don't happen in the first place.
Access To Specialist Talent
Say you're having issues with inefficient warehouse management. Even if your continuous improvement expert can't suggest specific solutions, they'll have industry contact who know exactly what to do to address the problem.
They'll also know when something is outside their area of expertise, and when to call in a specialist. Many efficiency issues develop because the problem is shelved for the time being, allowing it to grow from something minor into a major pain in the neck to fix. CIs can identify these issues and assess exactly when you need to call in outside help, saving your company money, time, and labor.
Removal from Day To Day Operations
Spotting potential issues with processes in daily operations requires distance. The function of a continuous improvement expert is to observe, identify, and correct problems before they spiral out of control, and this can rarely be accomplished by someone who is a part of the day-to-day workforce.
Since CIs aren't a part of daily operations, they are able to avoid the stressors and distractions that accompany the day-to-day function of the company. Feeling and emotions don't factor into their equation, so they can approach the problem rationally and come up with appropriate solutions.
Save Money and Improve Efficiency
Every company needs to make money to survive -- it's just a fact. Small mistakes in efficiency processes can add up to exorbitant amounts of unnecessary spending, but this is sometimes hard to see from the inside out. A continuous improvement expert looks from the outside in, and brings to your attention the impact that these small mistakes can have on your company earnings further down the line.
In addition to identifying problem areas, they also bring your attention to what you don't need at all. Unnecessary spending can play a huge part in hurting your company's bottom line, and a continuous improvement expert can point these areas out to you with ruthless efficiency. This allows you to spend less, and earn more.
Continuous improvement expert can also increase customer satisfaction and create more referrals to potential clients. A more efficient operation means your customers get what they need, when they need it, and that any unforeseen issues can be addressed in a timely manner. This means happy customers, and happy customers are longstanding customers.