A production slowdown is a perfect opportunity to re-direct resources to mandates that generate strategic advantages and long-term, sustainable increases in profitability….in addition to cementing employee and customer loyalty. Here are five ideas that can be implemented virtually and which will create long-term value for your business.
- Ask that cross-functional groups co-develop innovative solutions to any of your business issues. Challenge these teams to define the ideal state. Ask them to develop various approaches to achieving it.
- Identify the most painful, cumbersome processes and resolve to simplify or eliminate them. If the process in question is “owned” by one department, ensure that a cross-functional team virtually collaborates in its re-definition.
- Develop collaborations. Necessity is the mother of invention. A slowdown in activity is a great time to talk about new ways of doing things and to develop new common visions with others in your ecosystem.
- Have team members research new markets, new ideas, and prepare a plan for you. This is great work for your sales support or bids team, who see details and emerging trends that senior leaders sometimes do not.
- Take the time to step away from the crisis, two hours at a time to hold facilitated strategic thinking sessions with your teams. These are great for creating aspirational visions of the future, especially in times of crisis.
Whichever of these value-creation mandates you engage your employees in, make sure that these value-creation ideas include the development of an action plan.
If, as a leader, you have chosen to keep some of your highly qualified, educated, and experienced work force to work on improvement projects in recent weeks, I’d love to hear from you.
If you’ve already furloughed people indefinitely, it’s not too late to re-think your approach and experiment with one of these ideas.
Ultimately, the decision to protect short-term margins by furloughs during a production slowdown is an answer to the wrong question.
As always, feel free to reach out with comments or if you’d like to explore this idea further!