Yes, I have come a long way. But for me, cooking was never going to be a long term career or hobby – more a necessity. While I now have the fundamentals, as I do when working with businesses I am always looking for shortcuts or time savings to make things simpler, make things more efficient and potentially save money.
What I noticed is there is considerable time wasted with the process of shopping, and there is also considerable food waste especially when dealing with fresh vegetables or fruit. Even if you plan your week in advance, and only shop once, there is time wasted and there is a considerable risk of food waste.
I have got to say, I would rather be playing golf than shopping. So, I started investigating alternatives to remove or reduce the wasted time and food. We identified Hellofresh – quality ingredients for tasty and easy-to-cook recipes ordered online and delivered to your doorstep.
We have used Hellofresh now for a number of months with 3 meals per week program, and it has confirmed that we can save time, save on food waste and also save money. We lose nothing in taste, the meals are easy to cook, and, I am still getting requests from my wife for a whole new set of recipes!!
This review of the ‘shopping for ingredient process’ and its inefficiencies and the possibilities for improvement have inspired me to propose another recipe:
Rod’s Recipe for Improving one of your Core Business Processes
Your business has dozens of processes, both complex and simple. But by identifying and then improving those processes in your business where efficiency could be optimised, you can improve customer outcomes, you can save money, and you can save your employees’ sanity.
So, what are your core business processes? Which of these core business processes is not delivering to customer service expectations, or of quality expectations, and / or having a productivity impact on your employees?
If you do not know what your core processes are, here is a starting point questionnaire:
1. What are the most common enquiries from your customers? How can you remove these?
2. What are the most common complaints from your customers? How can you remove these?
3. How do you measure Service; Quality; Productivity? How do you know how you are doing?
4. What do you think are the major barriers that inhibit your delivery of Service, Quality, and Productivity?
5. What inhibits your performance in terms of teamwork across your business functions?
6. List the improvement strategies that you think need to be put in place.
7. If all the improvement strategies were put in place and all the barriers removed, what % improvement do you think would be possible:
Quality: _____ %
8. If you could wave a magic wand and change anything in your business, what would be the one thing you would most want to change?
9. What is one thing in your business that drives you crazy?
By analysing the results of this questionnaire, your business should be able to identify a business problem and one or more business processes that have the opportunity for improvement.
1 – Business Problem
2 – Core Business Process
3 – Staff Involvement
4 – Leadership
Now that you have identified a business problem and an associated business process requiring improvement, there are a number of steps involved to deliver improvement. Following these steps and using Leadership and Staff Involvement staples from your pantry, can improve the process, and enhance the likelihood of achieving the desired long-term results.
Step 1. Identify the problem and the core business process involved
What problem is your business struggling with? Do you want to increase sales? Is production or delivery lagging? Is it you want to remove complaints which are taking up a considerable amount of your staff’s time?
The problem statement should not be vague, such as ‘business processes need improvement’. You should identify a specific goal, like ‘increase monthly output of Product A by 20%’.
If you are not sure, ask: It is OK to admit that you are not quite sure what the problem is. For example, ask your sales people if there is anything about the business they would change to help your customers or to assist your staff to be more productive. Use the questionnaire above to check-in with key staff in your business.
Shopping for ingredient process – my supply chain process
· Wasted food
· Wasted time
· Wasted money
Remove all wasted food
Step 2. Map out how the core business process works
How does your core business process work now? List out the steps, like a recipe, to outline how the process works.
If you are not sure, ask: Sit down with key staff in your business who understand the process in question to outline the key steps of the identified process.
Shopping for ingredient process
Daily, or every second day
1. identify what meal(s) will be prepared
2. identify ingredients required to be purchased, beyond what is already in pantry or fridge
3. travel to shopping centre, or other locations
4. purchase ingredients
5. store or refrigerate ingredients until required
Step 3. Analyse specifically what needs to change
Analyse the process you have mapped out and identify inefficiencies. This is tricky, but the best way to do it is to ask yourself or your staff questions.
Why are we getting the problems outlined in Step 1? For example, why are we getting the 'waste'.
What can we do to fix them?
Identify multiple solutions: Rather than commit to one solution to the flawed process, propose a few different ways and talk them over with your team. Test each of them out. You may find that the one you would have gone with did indeed fix the process, yet another solution did an even better job.
Step 4. Redesign the Process
With the problem(s) identified, you can redesign the process to fix the inefficiencies using the solutions you identified in Step 3.
Perform a risk analysis first to make sure you are not introducing new problems by streamlining. Then consult with your staff to see if there are any blind spots and if you have a workable solution.
Start with incremental changes: Rather than radically overhauling the entire process, implement some small, incremental changes if possible. This gives your staff time to adjust and also ensures that you can reverse course if you find the change is not working as you intended.
Step 5. Introduce the new process and monitor it
Aggressively monitor the change early on. Note any shift in the numbers, good or bad, and continually ask yourself why you are seeing these results. Make adjustments on the fly until you see the numbers you want to see.
Stay in constant contact with your staff: Your staff are your eyes and ears on the ground, and they will be able to identify any problems -- such as staff struggling to adapt to the new system, or an even worse bottleneck forming at a different part of the process.
Step 6. Review
On an ongoing basis, you should review the process to check whether you got the results you wanted, or if you need to change the process again.
When you have collected these data, set up a meeting with your team to talk over the results.
If you need assistance or support with this particular recipe, and how to apply it to one or more of your business processes, let me know.
Rod is a business advisor providing smaller businesses with the necessary skills and processes to deliver their business improvement and turnaround initiatives in the role of advisor and delivery manager. In particular, based on 30 years advising and delivering large and small enterprises on technology projects, Rod has provided guidance and support to businesses on how to use technology to grow or to support the scaling of businesses. For more information refer to www.transcendhcs.com.au.