Continuous Improvement

The "work from home" shop

Imagine walking into a house and seeing mineral stained ceilings, half painted walls, and waterlogged plywood covered holes. Imagine exposed pipes, sagging conduit, and cobbled-together tangles of wire. Imagine cobwebs in the corners, and a thin layer of dust covering everything. Imagine clutter on top of, under, and around the furniture. Imagine bad lighting, harsh smells, and abrasive sounds. Imagine somber people glancing at you from the shadows. 

Fire yourself

We all derive self worth in different ways. We all need it and we all find ways to get it. Some of us use the dependence of our children, spouse, or pets as proof of our value. Some rely on the stares of pedestrians when driving past in their muscle car. Some of us convert likes or follows into worth. Some of us take on projects, and upon completion are rewarded. We use positions in politics, church, and organizations as tic marks proving our relevance to the world. This is no different in our industry and in your business.

The "Other" Competition (the real one)

When asked the simple question “Who is your competition?”, an astonishingly high number of business owners will respond with the “obviously right, WRONG answer”. If you’re a cabinet shop, I’d expect to hear you respond with the names of several local cabinet shops offering similar products and services. While technically that answer is right, it’s a limited view. The reality is, your company is competing with any company where the customer walks away with an experience… so, every company.
 
As an industry, we compete against Apple, Uber, DoorDash, Amazon, etc.

Is your business in “spa mode”?

If you go to the gym, you go there because you know that by being temporarily uncomfortable, you can improve your body. In contrast, at the spa, you're there to be pampered for short term satisfaction. While both are worthwhile in the correct quantity and timing, I encourage you to look at your business like a gym, not a spa.
 
“Spa mode” is everywhere. Spa mode exists in government, in people, in food. Spa mode is the reason gas pumps are so stupid and slow. Spa mode is the post office line.

Can You See Your Business?

What’s the ‘thing’ that really sets you and your employees into action? When “X” happens, we go to work… For an employee at the machine, it’s usually something like “When the cutlist is put on my clipboard, I cut it out”, which is pretty simple. What about you, though? How do you know what to do and when to do it? What is ‘it’ that makes you act? Does the person on the other end of the phone determine your day? Is it that quickbooks report that you glance at once a month? 

Understanding Disruptive Innovation

Disruptive innovation is a term that was coined by Harvard professor Clayton Christensen, and discussed in his book The Innovator’s Dilemma. You might think ‘disruptive innovation’ is about inventing something SO unique that it disrupts an industry. In reality, it has a much more concise definition, usually interpreted as a cheaper, simpler and more accessible version of a product or service for a completely different market share than the original, more expensive counterpart - which eventually overtakes the industry.
By Ashley Schuurman