Posts Tagged ‘improving productivity’

Mobile Productivity

September 18, 2013

About 18 months ago I took the final steps that would allow me to continue to work (speaking and blogging) while living a very mobile lifestyle.  Technology makes this reality not only possible, but remarkably easy.

Even if you have no desire to work from locations with a view like this,

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chances are you could make work easier and more productive.  Are you reading this from your laptop?  Your tablet?  Your smartphone?  These devices have so many features and benefits few of us ever use.  We get a new device, set it up to do the basics and most of us stop there.  Sure, its overwhelming at first, but now that you have mastered the essentials, now its time to delve deeper.

Pick a day – maybe Sunday – and spend 1 hour exploring your device.  Click open some of those settings and explore the many options.  Don’t overwhelm yourself, just pick one new feature and try it for a week and see if it makes life easier.

Microphone_1See that Microphone symbol?  Have you tried it?  I write many of my blogs on my phone and I often use this “talk to type” feature.  On my Android device it works surprisingly well.  All thumbs typing on your tiny keypad?  Could this feature improve your productivity?
Are you using a cloud service?  I use Carbonite.com as my on line back up service.  Not only do I have the peace of mind of knowing everything is backed up – even my phone – but I can access any file stored anywhere from any of my devices by using the app.  How often do I need that?  More often than you may think.  If you’ve ever said “I’ll get that to you when I get back to my office”, this is for you!  No more reminder notes or worse,  forgetting!  That’s both productive and customer responsive.

SkyrocketTechnology is continuously evolving.  To do business in the ever-changing world, we need to continue to evolve as well.  Grab those tools you’ve invested dollars in and invest a bit of time to be sure you are getting your money’s worth!

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Dissecting a Problem

February 15, 2012

How do you solve problems in your business?  For example, if you regularly receive complaints from customers that merchandise arrived late, do you go talk to the head of shipping or delivery?  What does that person do?  Do they talk to the team?  What do they say?  Too many business people simply chastise the staff with no real direction on how to improve the situation.

Problem solving starts with careful analysis of every step of the process.  A great example can be found in the detailed overhall Alaska Airlines undertook in 2007 to improve reliability.  In January, the Wall Street Journal cited their efforts and applauded their results.  Here is that portion of the article:

 

“The carrier has set internal standards: There are 50 different check points on a timeline for each departure, with data collected on each one. Flight attendants have to be on board 45 minutes before scheduled departure; customer-service agents board the first passenger 40 minutes before departure, and 90% of passengers need to be boarded 10 minutes before departure. What time the fuel truck hooks up and what time it disconnects its hose are measured. When flights arrive, the time the belt-loader pulls up to the plane is tracked. The cargo door is supposed to be opened three minutes after arrival; the first bag needs to be dropped on the carousel before 15 minutes after arrival.

“There are so many moving parts. You just can’t tell people to get the airplane out on time,” said Ben Minicucci, Alaska’s chief operating officer.”

What problem do you need to solve in your business?  Break the process down step by step and identify the bottlenecks.  Do you have a vendor who consistently ships late?   If working with them on improving delivery isn’t effective you will either need to build in more time to your process to allow for their tardiness or find another supplier.  Does a project get stalled on the desk of someone who often works out of the office?  Is there a way to use technology to get their sign-off even remotely?  Do you have team members who need training in order to work more efficiently?

Setting measurable goals for each step of the process is the secret to improving performance.  Improved performance – being able to tout measured consistency –  is a competitive advantage.  It can also improve not only productivity but profitability as well.  Breaking a process down into the various components makes a big problem manageable.


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