Our purpose at One Way Products, Inc. is to help our customers, our company, and each other get better every day. What does getting better every day look like in real life? We think it boils down to two things. First, we have to see waste. Second, we have to fix the stuff that bugs us.
Another term for waste could be inefficiencies. Think about it – waste/inefficiencies are everywhere! In our office recently we came across a serious inefficiency in the way we file and store signed receivers we get from our customers after we deliver product to them. We keep the documentation because we from time to time get customers who ask for proof of delivery. When they ask for the proof we either fax it to them or we scan the document and then email it. So, what do we do? We kept every signed receiver from every delivery we made and we attach that document to the original purchase order that we get from our customer. Our front office staff was spending sometimes up to 2 hours every day filing these documents by customer. We have over 3000 customers and their information took up 12 36” filing cabinets. Our ISO 9001 Document Control Procedure states that we need to keep this information handy for 12 months. The problem in that we didn’t have a good way to go through all the files without looking at every single one and removing the documents in each customer file that we more than a year old! Seems hugely inefficient, right? So we asked the simple question – how often do customers actually request this information? We tracked it for two weeks and found that between 2 and 3 customers per week requested that these documents be sent to them. That means that less than ½ of 1% of our deliveries was commanding 2 hours per day of our time! So what did we do? Now we have one file for each day deliver. We organize all the paperwork alphabetically so that the documents are easy to find. If a customer contacts us for the info we grab the delivery date in question, find the document, scan or fax it to the customer and we are done. The whole filing process etc not takes les than 10 minutes per day. Additionally, when we get to today’s date in 12 months we automatically know what files to remove so we now have way less space being taken up. 3 file drawers instead of 12! That’s getting better!
The second way in which getting better every day plays out in real life is by fixing the things that bug us. That’s it. Fix the thing that bugs you. Here is an example: I like to listen to music when I exercise. If you are like me you have had several versions of iPhones over the years and each time I get a new iPhone I get a new set of earbuds. Funny thing is I can never seem to find them when I want them because I never put them in the same spot. I then spend however much time I need to go find them before I head off to the gym or to my treadmill in my basement. I’ve spent upwards of 30 minutes trying to find those things because who can exercise without music! Needless to say this was bugging me and I finally decided to fix it. So, I always change clothes in my closet before I work out and after I’m done. I only wear earbuds when I work out so I decided that keeping them in my closet is the best spot. I have an extra hook on my belt rack so I have a hook there designated for my earbuds. Simple fix. Huge savings in my time and way more convenient than looking all over for them. I fixed something that bugged me. That’s getting better and it feels good to improve.
Seeing waste and fixing the things that bug us. Two practical ways we can get better every day in real life. Try it every day and see what happens!