Micro Adjustments, Macro Results: How small changes can make a big difference

Sometimes we overthink things.

I do it, you do it, businesses do it, governments definitely do it. When we have a question, we often look beyond “obvious” answers. If we’re facing a thorny problem, we can easily overcomplicate the solution.

There’s a few things at play here. First of all, humans are intelligent. Our brains are extremely good at identifying patterns, and establishing cause-effect relationships. Unfortunately, we’re not always very good about regulating that pattern-detection part of our brains. We see links between things, links that may not actually exist.

The other cause of overthinking is familiarity.

If a new wrinkle introduces itself to our environment — a business problem, a personal challenge — we often begin analyzing that wrinkle by looking for things that have changed, or things that are new in our environment.

What we don’t notice are the everyday occurrences right in front of us, the commonplace events, things, and people that might actually lie at the source of this new wrinkle or problem.

Sometimes we overthink things, and often we’re blind to the obvious things in front of us. It’s a human failing, but it’s one worth overcoming.

What if there are obvious answers to some of the production issues your business might be facing?

What if there’s an opportunity for improvement that’s sitting right in front of you, but goes unnoticed, unpursued?

At nGROUP, we’ve seen the power of how small changes to everyday practices — little shifts to the obvious things right in front of us — can produce significant end results.

Here are a few examples.

Example 1: Micro Changes To the Working Environment: Make Work Easier

In one of our partnerships, we worked with a retailer. Part of their production line staff were assigned the task of hanging garments on overhead hangers.

When our engineers studied the operation, they made a surprising discovery about something that was, quite literally, staring the client’s management right in the face.

The workforce assigned to the task of garment-hanging were, on the average, very short. As we observed them, we noticed they often struggled to reach the hangers above them. Work would slow down as someone strained to get the latest garment hung properly. It dawned on us that a very simple change could make a huge difference.

We lowered the garment racks in that department. It was a quick and easy job, and the result was astounding. Not only were the workers more productive with the easier-to-reach racks, they were happier with their jobs. They saw that someone had noticed their problem and addressed it, all the while making work easier and more comfortable.

What if a small change in your production environment could not only boost productivity but also morale?

Example 2: Micro Changes To the Process: Make Work Smarter

Smart businesses and leaders are in a constant state of re-evaluation. Not only is the company as a whole brought under the microscope, but all the parts, people, and processes that make up the everyday operations. Because to drive big change, it’s not always necessary to overhaul everything.

Working with a reverse logistics operation, nGROUP teams were conducting micro-movement evaluations of the workforce, looking for opportunities to improve efficiency. One part of the production cycle involved workers picking items from shelves and pallets. After an objective study of the process, we realized workers were 25-30% faster when only picking from a shelf.

By reorganizing that part of the line once, the operation would be able to cut serious time off the entire cycle. The benefits would last, and the amount of work and time required to make the change would prove to be negligible in the long run.

What if a small adjustment could cut 25% production time off your floor?

Big Results: How To Make Changes Effectively

Re-examining the everyday processes of your operation is the best way to reach and maintain peak production. But that examination needs to go deep, and must always be mindful of the small windows of opportunity that can be leveraged into big production boosts or cost savings.

And it is often tough to achieve when you’re in the weeds, overly familiar with your environment. That’s where bringing in an outside partner can be so valuable – especially when our agreement is set up based on the % improvement!

nGROUP is an expert at labor management, and an expert at evaluating processes from the ground up. When our teams work with our partners to maximize their labor efficiency, we start at the bottom. Studying the operation at a granular level allows us to help our partners find those chances to make micro adjustments.

Book a call with us today to discover what your operation and nGROUP can accomplish together. A small change like picking up the phone today can lead to huge wins for your business!

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