Finding Capacity To Grow

Bob Schultek
Keeping your operation synchronized with your growing business is an incessant challenge. While you focus on getting more orders and getting the work completed, your growth keeps nagging at you to ensure that your operations are keeping up with your progress.Various processes need refinement, but you can’t find time to get to this. You’re considering hiring more personnel but need flexibility and wonder how much additional support would be needed if your processes were more efficient. Because you want the folks you hire to stay, contribute and grow with your business, you expect to commit to the people you hire and minimize your need to reduce workforce if your business hits a slow patch at some point. You’re unsure about your actual capacity.Such are the trials of a growing business, but these growth issues are so much better than the alternative and they beckon your attention, so carve out time to consider them.

Determining capacity begins with process evaluation. List your key processes and prioritize them by the amount each contributes to profitability. Start at the top by mapping your highest priority process steps, identifying who is responsible for each step and how much time it takes to complete each step. Add the “waiting” time between each step. Identify your largest constraint in this process…where do things get bogged down? Seek to minimize inventory…inventory equals capacity.

Redesign this process to accelerate throughput (productivity), while reducing cost (time? waste?) and inventory. Then, close the gaps…what must change to allow implementation of the refined process?

Investing time to work through process improvement will clarify your actual capacity and help you determine your true hiring needs. If you need an extra set of experienced eyes and hands to accomplish this work promptly, then get it and include this cost in your ROI calculation. Waiting to do this just costs you money and prolongs your capacity uncertainty. Process evaluation is synonymous with growth so expect it to be an integral part of your continuous challenge to find capacity.

Do you know your business’ capacity? 

How do you ensure that you have the capacity to support your growth?

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