Optimisation is more than a buzzword

Image to show different strategies to support optimisation
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Optimisation is used a lot in marketing. It can be a meaningless buzzword but it does have a real meaning that matters.

Optimisation makes the best use of a situation or makes a thing as good or effective as it can be. If we all did that, we could produce more with less. That would be more sustainable, more profitable and provide better value for money.

The key to optimisation is to help people think about how eliminating inefficiencies can reduce costs, increase productivity, enhance product or service quality, and better meet customer needs. Organisations take different approaches to improving how they operate, but the key thing is to do it.

Optimisation: Practical examples

Practice resonates more than theory. Here are a few examples of optimisation from projects our firm has worked on. It includes analysis and evaluation we have done for clients:

Example 1: Design of a new training facility with multiple dual use spaces:

  • briefing room used at start of courses combined with break room used mainly at lunchtime
  • room used for observing group sessions doubles as a less-used specialist training room
  • storage rooms for large equipment double-ended to reduce corridor space required

Example 2: Equipment tracking solution has multiple functions to cut waste & add value:

  • records all items for inventory and audit purposes – one list all can access
  • captures issue and return to staff – with no data entry
  • enables fast flagging of faulty/damaged equipment and prevents issue – health & safety
  • real-time mapping of deployment of all items and items available to deploy
  • enables quick real-time capture of transfer of individual or bulk items between sites
  • facilitates rotation of items for scheduled maintenance without disruption to operations
  • increases security of all items with enhanced tracking, last known location etc.

Example 3: Integration of processes and systems to reduce rework

  • Join up CRM system, transactional system and financial system with common workflow
  • Eliminates duplicate records of the same customers and suppliers
  • Eliminates need for repeated reconciliation between systems
  • Reduces errors and delays from pass-off between systems and confusion over records

Example 4: Creation of common systems across sector for a complex order to pay process

  • Creation of data standards so all data is captured the same way
  • Reduce need to maintain over a dozen systems that all perform the same functions
  • Eliminating long payment delays by standardising specification and purchase orders
  • Ability to monitor volume, cost and timeliness in real time
  • Ability to track trends and make projections on demand

Key factors for successful optimisation

There are some common factors in all these examples:

  1. Early stakeholder engagement to identify pain points and areas for improvement
  2. A principle that strategic investments must have multiple, measurable, benefits
  3. Acceptance that real change is hard work and needs active collaboration
  4. Strong executive sponsorship. Optimisation is not a back-room task. It needs leadership.

Phil Guerin, Consultant/Director, Hague Consulting Ltd. © Hague Consulting Ltd 2024.

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