Maximizing your Process Improvement Efforts – Grabbing the Low Hanging Fruit
Have you ever been in a position where you needed to yield results quickly? Perhaps you’ve finished the last 2 quarters over budget and over schedule, you’re off track for an important project, or you simply want to make every day processes more efficient and less time consuming. Before you do Complex Regression Analysis, A3 diagrams or Value Stream Maps, you should first pick the low hanging fruit.
Picking the low hanging fruit is a term for going after the quick fixes and changes that can be implemented immediately. These fixes usually require very minimal effort, but can yield quick and significant results. One example of a low hanging fruit opportunity is rearranging a factory work area so supplies can be found more easily; the result being a quicker, more streamlined process that results in less wasted time. Another example, is adding a temp receptionist to a tax call center during tax season to reduce customer wait times. This gives you extra help when you know you need it with out adding the “extra waste” of unneeded staff during the other days of the week.
Still doubting the power of the low hanging fruit? Just look at Pareto’s Principle also known as the 80/20 rule. It holds that 20% of the causes, create 80% of the effect. In other words, instead of needlessly expending precious time, resources and man power on many small issues that will yield minimal benefits, focus on the few that will create the biggest impact. Often times many of those are immediate, quick fixes. Fortunately, many of these quick changes can be implemented right away.