It’s Time to Focus on Efficiency

I think that we’ll all agree that time is a very precious commodity.  In business and in life, we’re always saying how busy we are and how difficult it is to get things done.  No matter how busy we really are, a lot of time is spent frantically responding to stimuli, putting out fires, and “planning” in real time.

What can we do to help make our lives more manageable?

Sometimes it is so difficult to “see the forest through the trees” to coin a popular saying.  Making time to plan, become more organized, address inefficiencies, and work on time management seems next to impossible; however, it is the solution rather than the problem.  Taking a step back to identify ways to use time more effectively will lead to having more available time.

When you work in a service industry, the value of time has a real price tag.  It is the only revenue bearing resource for those of us who do not sell products.  In order to be competitive, respond to the demands of an aggressive market, survive with slim margins, and become more profitable, it is import to maximize productivity by working more efficiently.

How do we save time and money?

The key to saving time and money is by taking the time to do things carefully and accurately the first time, thus minimizing costly mistakes and the need to redo your work.  Although it requires discipline, effort, and a little upfront investment; efficiency is the key to reducing overall costs and increasing profits.

Focus on maximizing your efficiency by reducing the time spent cleaning up your mistakes.

Here are some tips for making audiovisual projects more efficient.

  • Documentation – Ensure that a project scope is defined, functionality requirements are documented, the system is fully engineered, and the design is verified to support the requested programming features.  Keeping information up-to-date and accurate minimizes mistakes.
  • Accuracy – Identify questions and pursue reliable answers.  Efficiency involves investing time referencing a manual, checking with a manufacturer, consulting a knowledgeable resource rather than taking a chance, being unsure of a fact, and fixing costly mistakes later.
  • Effective Communication – Defining expectations, proactive scheduling, and managing information flow minimize confusion and the help to avoid problems.  Keeping all parties informed of project status and responsiveness to inquiries avoid the need to spend extra time pursuing information and waiting on responses that could easily be resolved with communication and teamwork.
  • Planning and Managing – Anticipating challenges, preparing contingencies, and monitoring situations allow proactive decisions to be made and limit time spent dealing with problems and difficulties.  Challenges will always exist, but their impact can be minimized if they are handled effectively.
  • Testing – Regardless of the presence of a control system, verify that a system works manually.  Test point to point signal flow, attend to device configuration, address wiring concerns, and identify issues in advance such as misunderstanding or device failures to minimize crises that lead to additional time requirements.
  • Staging – In addition to manual testing, stage the system in a shop environment to verify operation, debug programming, address concerns, and review the requirements with the client to ensure a smooth installation.  If problems arise or changes are required, it is much less time consuming and costly to address them during staging than it is during installation or final testing.
  • Punchlists – Creating and maintaining status reports and task lists ensure a good understanding of open items and knowledge of what is required to get the job done, thus allowing proper resources and time to be allocated.  Without a roadmap or checklist, the path to completion will not be clear resulting in inefficient use of time.

Take the time to think about efficiency.  Not only will you have more available time, you’ll also find that your efforts are more profitable.

Steve Greenblatt