Very Simple Ideas for Running a Business: 2) Leakages and Bottlenecks

Managing a business involves many tasks, a large number of which are expected in any given month (making deliveries, issuing invoices, filing accounts etc.). There is a natural rhythm to this and getting things to run smoothly is clearly a good idea.

To some extent, it's down to planning and organisation, but there's also a role for the eagle-eyed manager, looking for any leakages or bottlenecks. A leakage is where resources of any type are being underemployed (e.g. people waiting for things to happen) or overemployed (e.g. materials being wasted) in comparison to what could be the case. A bottleneck is a variation on this, leading to a waste of time; think of trucks parked awaiting unloading or simply in a traffic jam.

Ultimately, we need to solve these problems, but first we need to find them. We suggest a combination of: constant awareness of the potential for leakages and bottlenecks, a habit of spot checking in places where they are known to occur and, last but not least, keeping our ears open for what colleagues tell us, whether in so many words (maybe not so often) or indirectly (rather more than we might expect).


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