Over the past four to five years, we have had conversations with dozens of maintenance and operations experts on trends and insights in the world of operations.
This year has been no different, other than we’ve added even more episodes featuring experts and your peers to talk about what they’re experiencing and ideas they have to work smarter and better.
With that, we have a few specific trends that have bubbled up in our last few podcast episodes that may be of help to you, guiding you into your best next steps in this ever-changing world of operations.
You hear it again and again, but now is the time to explore efficiency wins in your staff, processes, technology and more. Instead of the old adage “do more with less,” we’ve reframed it to be “do your best with less.” And we’ve had some great discussion of how operations professionals can do that.
Especially going into a budget year of what do we do? What choices do we make? How do we take the limited funds we have and make the best use of them?
Seth Robertson from WithersRavenel talked on our Asset Management for Local Government episode about how he has seen local governments gain efficiencies in the midst of a resource-strapped environment.
“So the idea of asset management in this case is: first of all, what do you have? Where's it located? What condition is it in? Come up with some type of reasonable capital improvement plan of how are we going to take care of the deficiencies that we found and come up with best practices for long term operation and maintenance and making sure things last as long as possible,” Seth says.
On the other side, what things are you doing that may be preventing you from operating efficiently and profitably?
We had Paul Lachance back on the podcast on our Avoiding Profit Killers in Maintenance episode to talk about the top profit killers in maintenance and how they can be avoided.
“There's a variety of profit killers, whether it's your team and things like overtime, improper balance of work your effectiveness of the team because they don't have good instructions around spare parts... There's nothing worse than having an asset that's down, maybe you're making lawnmower blades and you're down unexpectedly, and you go to get that spare part and it's not there. That's called a stock out,” Paul says.
He offers some useful tips for avoiding profit killers around labor, assets and compliance with methodologies like 5S and Six Sigma, as well as partner services from your technology vendors.
Although you may struggle to find time to plan for the needs of your operations and department(s), it is critical that you do so. So, how can you balance the needs of today with those of tomorrow?
Hear from an expert on strategic asset management, Ashay Prabhu, on our episode All About Strategic Asset Management.
He lays out the challenge we have with our infrastructure needs:
“Infrastructure deficit and infrastructure gap has been reported, and talked about by all Western economies, Canada, US, Australia, New Zealand, UK, South Africa, for decades, and that infrastructure deficit or infrastructure gap is reported in our annual report cards. The sad news is most western economies are somewhere Between a C+ and a D- on an A to F scale, which is not great. And that's where the problem exists,” Ashay says.
So, what is to be done to combat this growing issue? Enter strategic asset management:
“So, strategic asset management is about solving that problem. First up, articulating that gap, understanding that they're explaining it to the government, the politicians and the stakeholders that we do have an issue. But then saying, ‘Hey, we know how to solve it, without necessarily spending more money. We know how to solve it by spending best what we've got now. And we know how to do it.’ So, we end up reducing that gap, not constantly expecting it to increase because that's what we've got used to,” Ashay says.
Innovation is another important piece of the puzzle – looking at ways that we can do things smarter and faster with the help of technology updates.
Just as this is true for your daily work, it’s also true in the software development world and here at Dude Solutions.
That’s why we sat down with a few of our product experts in this episode on Our Process for Product Innovation. They talk with host Josh Peach about how we try to continuously innovate and adjust product ideas and upgrades to meet client’s needs.
“But we usually look at these ideas, try and review them a bit, try to see what they're all about. Maybe dig into them a bit just to see the scope of it, sometimes that involves engineering. And then if it's a really good idea and if it's something that we want to do, we might involve our clients or talk to our clients to see if it's something that's valuable to them. See if we're doing the right thing, asking the right questions. These ideas are really for clients, so it's important to keep them involved. It's not for us, it's to improve their workflows. So it's these ideas when they get boarded and reviewed, we try to make the best thing that works for our clients, make them easy to understand, simple, and that's pretty much it,” Sarmad Sarsam says.
They even talk about what happens to the ideas that don’t make the cut.
“So, ideas that don't make it. It doesn't mean that they'll never make it. You might squeeze them in in a different way or tack them on to a different project. You just got to keep those things in mind. And sometimes it means keeping a big list of things,” Kyle Adamo says.
With all that is going on in your world, we hope that you can find new ways to uncover efficiencies, strategic processes and innovation to improve your day-to-day work.
And when you get a few free minutes, download an episode of The Operate Intelligently Podcast to keep up on other trends.