Management Book authored by Don Desrosiers in PDF format. Also available for Kindle.
Your employees are underproducing and being overpaid with overtime for the privilege to do so, and you may have only yourself to blame. To run a smarter, more profitable business, you must have a dream to reach for and a system in place to make sure it becomes reality. Efficiency Engineer Don Desrosiers has a few tricks up his sleeves to teach you how to track finances, train and motivate employees and cut costs like you never thought possible. He can help business owners and managers see problems, identify their causes and fix them. So, who’s on board for the next training session?
Don Desrosiers is a workflow engineer, efficiency expert and a management consultant to drycleaners and shirt launderers throughout America and Western Europe. The system he employs allows him to typically cut his client’s payroll by 25% or more and it can be universally applied to all industries.
Unfortunately, employees too often goof off during the work week, sometimes subconsciously milking the time clock so they can get their 40 hours or more every week. However, it’s not really their fault. Management has remained oblivious to the problem, or, worse, has simply endorsed it by letting it occur.
If you allow four employees to skate by and accomplish the work that should be done with only three, then your labor costs are simply too high. You can cut them drastically, but first you must believe it can be done. Then, you have to visualize a realistic goal and pursue it. Unfortunately, that is a lot easier said than done. The truth is, there is no such thing as a quick, easy fix to the problem. However, by reading Don’s book, you will become capable of developing a system to significantly cut your labor expenses.
The first step is to measure everything. No matter what business you are in, you need to have certain productivity standards. There must be some sort of benchmark to measure your own results against.
For example, in the drycleaning industry, an experienced pants presser in a properly equipped plant should be able to press 42 pants an hour. Most cleaners fail to attain that. They usually fall into the 30-35 an hour range. Only by measuring production daily will you know the extent of your problem and be able to get to the heart of it.
Of course, in some cases there is no pre-defined standard, which means you must establish it for yourself. Labor Pains and Profit Drains! can help you make that happen. It is absolutely vital for you to track, measure and graph how much work should be accomplished each hour at your company. Spreadsheets will become the best friend your business ever had.
Overtime can be a blessing. Unfortunately, it can also be a drug to employees and a profit drain to employers.
At times, it may be utilized effectively as an employee motivation tool. After all, a 25 cent an hour raise won’t likely prevent your employees from calling in sick often, but there are other solutions that might be more effective, such as scheduled overtime hours. It’s like a built-in bonus system that rewards employees for showing up all week and working hard. In such cases, paying overtime is well worth it.
Unless employees start to abuse that system. Too often, employees pad the clock in hopes that they’ll make those coveted time-and-a-half overtime pay hours. Once they get a taste of a higher disposable income in their pockets, employees will never again want to settle for a 40-hour week - even if there isn’t 40 hours of work for them to do. They will either consciously or subconsciously slow down their production rate in order to obtain the OT. Worst of all, too many business owners and managers allow this to happen.
Management positions have become convoluted with the various tasks and jobs that have been attached to their job descriptions, such as answering customer complaints and filing paperwork. However, management is really all about one simple thing: training employees.
Too many managers react to the fires that erupt around them. But it is the proactive manager who has the foresight to install a smoke detector. A proactive manager trains his employees correctly the first time, which, ultimately, will vastly cut down on the number of customer complaints at your company. Such managers are also the ones who use their paperwork as a roadmap to let them know what needs to be worked on. A manager is lost without that roadmap because it illustrates to him the areas in which his employees need his training expertise.
Train the Trainer
Oftentimes, a good manager is a not-so-good trainer. However, that can all change, and it really needs to right now in order for your company to start making more money. Training employees is a huge challenge, but this book can help make the process a whole lot easier.
Imagine, for a moment, that you must train an employee how to draw a triangle on chalkboard. Sounds easy, right? Now picture trying to accomplish that goal without saying the word “triangle.” Just to make it more interesting, try doing it with both the trainer and trainee blindfolded and use three different colors of chalk to draw the three sides of the triangle.
Such a training exercise sounds almost impossible, but it can be done. The trainer must climb into the shoes of the trainee in order to visualize how. In his book, Don delivers a thorough lesson that takes you step-by-step through the tricky and treacherous training process so you can see firsthand precisely what it takes for effective training to be accomplished, and how numerous pitfalls can be avoided along the way.
The Training “Budget”
Whenever a new person is hired in production, managers and business owners naturally expect a drop in productivity. Many times, a training “budget” is calculated into the company’s overall operating costs in order to absorb such numbers. Of course, there will be an initial dip in productivity, but too often managers use their training budget to lie with numbers, which allows for the new employee to continue underproducing long after his “trainee” status has worn off.
As long as your trainee has that built-in excuse, your profits will fall far short of their potential, your labor will be too high, and it will be too late to remedy the bad habits instilled in the employee who was improperly trained.
And that is the heart of the problem: improper training. Don’t fall into the trap of creating a monetary training budget that feeds into perpetuating this problem. The best solution is another kind of budget that uses hours in place of dollars.
Paying for Your Costs Savings
If you want an education, then you have to pay the tuition. The same axiom is true for customer claims. Most business owners and managers dread dealing with dissatisfied customers, but the truth is, those are the people who can give you the best education pertaining to your business.
You can outright refuse to pay claims, or you can pay them and send the customer away, but what have you learned? If you pay the claim and then treat the experience as a learning tool, you can become better at your job and possibly prevent future claims down the road. Stop viewing the payment of claims as a necessary evil. Instead, look at the process as a way to address problem areas in your business.
See the Problem, Identify the Cause, Fix it!
In order to be successful, a manager must be able to do three things. First, he must be able to see the problems in the company. Of course, seeing the problem is just the first step. It’s more complicated to figure out the root of the problem. All avenues of possibility must be carefully investigated before you can identify the cause, be it a problem with tools or equipment, or improper employee training.
Then comes the final part: fixing the problem. This can certainly be costly for the company, especially if the “wrong” problem is fixed. Too often, managers prefer to throw more money or labor at a problem when the real solution is much more subtle.
Overstaff to Avoid Understaffing
Too many businesses are guilty of overstaffing their workforce because they cling to the rationale: “When someone is out sick, we can’t get the work out.” That way of thinking is what leads a company to underutilize its resources and hire too many people.
It’s tempting to have an extra person to fill in when the need arises, but the truth is, if you hire nine people to do the job of eight, then that is exactly what will end up happening.
Give a Raise That You Can Take Back
Instead of overstaffing and creating a situation where your staff is falling short of your industry’s standard production rate, you can give your employees a raise that you can also take back. After all, a pay raise by itself won’t be enough motivation to ensure that they work whenever they are scheduled.
If you want your employees to be at work on time, every day, then you have to offer an incentive. However, that incentive must be structured so that it rewards employees who are reliable and dependable, yet punishes those who hurt your production by not showing up.
How to Get More Done with Fewer People
Sometimes playing games can teach you more about working more efficiently. This chapter, and the one that follows, will delve into how game strategies can be applied to save you time in your personal and professional life.
How does this book’s number-circling exercise demonstrate how you can cut labor costs? Quite simply, it illustrates for you and your employees the value of a system. If everybody follows that system, then production can actually go up, even when your staff decreases in size.
Let’s Play Tetris
Perhaps the best example of how a strategy in a game can be applied effectively in the real word is Tetris, the videogame of arranging multi-colored blocks together in straight lines while the clock ticks down. Tetris itself is a metaphor for getting as much as possible accomplished in a short span of time.
You can learn to apply this idea to every aspect of your life, and you can also teach the concept to your employees, as well. After all, learning to budget your time is the key to being efficient.
The Stages of Getting Things Done
In order to make your business more profitable, you have to begin with a vision. What is it that you want to accomplish exactly? Do you want to cut your labor costs by 25%? Narrow down your goal until you have a precise idea of what dream you would like to see become reality.
Once you decide that, you must formulate a clear, precise plan. You need to envision potential obstacles and ways to overcome them. You must come up with the right tactics to help you be more successful. If you want help in that step, then you’ve come to the right place. Buy this book and become one step closer to achieving your dream.