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Improve Business Productivity By Revisiting The Old

24th January 2022

It’s become a regular occurrence this time of year, hasn’t it? “New Year, New You” marketing messages splashed all around, urging us to set resolutions and change the way we do things. We’re led to believe that our lives will be utterly transformed beyond recognition…as long as we buy into what they’re selling, be it a wonder supplement, a new diet, a gym membership or the latest revolutionary face cream.

Unfortunately, this message has been around for so long now, it’s almost become an old record and could, in fact, have the opposite effect by turning everyone into cynics. 

That being said, it does seem a shame to let the turning of the year pass without first taking the time to consider what we’ve learnt from the previous few months and how we intend to use these lessons in order to plan for the future.

Use this New Year to try something…again

The same is true for businesses. You should always take this fresh start as a chance to reflect on performance from the year before – is there scope for any savings and efficiency improvements in order to close a looming budget gap? One way to do this is to revisit something you may have tried in the past but which didn’t work quite as you had planned.

It’s tough to know where to focus your efforts and decide which innovation will be the one for you. We are told that change is happening faster than ever before and there is always some whizzy technology that’s “guaranteed to transform your business”. 

But take a look at our case study about how time studies and paying attention to detail can help to improve performance.

So unless you have solid grounds for abandoning something that’s been tried in the past, here are five reasons why you should try looking at it again:

  1. Assuming you considered it carefully before starting your original trial, there must be something about the solution that you felt was right for your business. Maybe it still is?
  2. Technology continues to improve – any glitches that could have made it tricky before, may now be smoother and yesterday’s technical hurdle may now be a walk in the park. So is it worth another look?
  3. Timing is everything – your organisation may not have been able to make necessary adaptations or key resources may not have been available at the time. Are you more prepared for it all now?
  4. You may have implemented all the easy changes already and now need to reconsider previously sidelined solutions
  5. A process or system change that requires an alteration in behaviour is difficult to get right in a trial. We’ve seen colleagues simply standing and watching new machines instead of progressing with the next stage in the process when automation has been introduced. Teams have reverted back to their old, established ways of doing things, rather than embracing the change. One example we have seen is when visiting a retail business to measure the impact of a new way of working, the store team asked if we wanted them to work how they were supposed to be, or if they should carry on as they had previously been doing! By paying more attention to the ways of working, could it be more successful this time?

If this has inspired you to dust off an old idea, here are some tips to steer it towards success:

  1. Any new kit that requires a process change will also create a behaviour change. Before asking colleagues to trial it, test it offline – even if it’s in a closed store. Learning by using means you will be clearer when it comes to training. You will be able to guide the change rather than waiting to see what happens
  2. Design your test period to allow necessary changes to bed in. Don’t continue with a clear failure, but don’t walk away from it either; not until you have learnt and understood what is and isn’t working
  3. It’s impossible to overestimate the effort needed to engage the teams testing your solutions and it’s essential you interact with the colleagues that will be doing things differently. A compelling PowerPoint or call with the manager is a start, but this must then lead on to effort in order to engage with and gain the ongoing commitment of the team

Workstudy can really help in operational trials and we can assist with this. Establishing a baseline and then measuring the impact confirms any successes and determines where tweaks can be made to achieve even more from the change. A workstudy project, such as this, which is quick and focused, followed by rapid analysis, enables you to obtain results. And, as always, we will support the numbers with our tried and tested mix of observations, benchmarks and process insights.

Let’s make 2022 the year we say, “We tried it before, and it could work this time”. Get in touch and let’s have a chat.