TIME TO INVEST

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A new year brings new opportunities, and one of the things that make any business stronger and more competitive is reinvestment into organization. There are three core areas to review: equipment, people and processes.

EQUIPMENT
A lot of times we hate to replace functioning equipment with more efficient pieces due to high cost. Do an analysis, maybe with an equipment vendor, to determine if the cost of the equipment will be offset by its efficiency, lower scrap rates, lower man hours, etc. Many times the improvements more than make up for high initial costs. There are other benefits as well, such as shorter turn-around time and better quality. A small offset may be selling the older functioning equipment.

PEOPLE
Here are three quotes from Lee Iacocca, the “father” of the Ford Mustang, the minivan and the savior of Chrysler back in the 1980’s:“Pick good people and set the right priorities.”“Management is nothing more than motivating other people.”“Start with good people.”

People are the best asset an optical lab can have. If your people are well trained, motivated and engaged, you’ll have excellent production. If they are not, then you’re in for a rough ride. Work with your vendors to provide excellent training. Training can be about more than just production tips, too. Consider bringing your banker in for a lunch seminar on building credit scores or your insurance agent for tips on keeping costs low. Maybe get a little crazy and have a massage therapist do 15-minute massages as a one-time benefit.

PROCESSES
Sometimes we have great equipment and great people, but our processes are not as good as they can be. Again, a great source of assistance can be your equipment vendors. Tap into their knowledge to increase throughput and quality. Sometimes it may be a different conveyer system, sometimes it’s something simple but overlooked such as water treatment systems.

If your equipment, people and processes are upgraded, you will have a more competitive and more efficient machine that your customers (and your banker) will appreciate!

Eric Rollins is a veteran of the optical retail, frame and lab industries. His firm, Rollins Consulting, LLC, consults with the three Os to improve profitability. Email him at EricRollins@Comcast.net.

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