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Small business problems or huge systemic gap?

Wanted: Caulking Gun – willing to pay $250,000.00

A young tradesman from a Bunbury building company drove to the outskirts of Collie to complete a job. Upon arrival, he set to work only to find his caulking gun was not in his toolbox. Irritated, he drove to a local hardware store and found a $7.95 caulking gun. He then discovered he’d left his wallet at home. With no charge account at this store, he called the boss’s mobile – No answer!

2 long hours later, he was back on the job site with his new 8 buck caulking gun and a head full of frustrated determination to fix the reoccurring problem by buying a carton of the things.

The next day something transformational took place. The 18 team members were gathered and told of the previous day’s events. They were asked if they ever spent time either looking for tools around their huge workshop, or discovered tools missing when out on jobs. 18 hands went up!

Each person was asked to estimate how much time they felt they wasted each day searching for misplaced / missing tools. Their estimates were extrapolated over 12 months and multiplied by both their average hourly rate (cost) and their average productivity rate (lost opportunity).

The resulting number on the whiteboard knocked them on their collective backsides. $251,000.00 per year!!

This real story from a real client has a positive ending. Because they now realised that they were not dealing merely with errant caulking guns – but a massive systemic gap in their systems – they implemented checklists, tool registers and with a change in mindsets, they dramatically reduced the real gap.

If the point is not obvious enough – When you find gaps in your business, investigate sufficiently to discover the (often-systemic) root causes. Don’t just stock up on caulking guns!

Yours in fun & prosperity

Jeff Austin, Bunbury Business Coach

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