- 500% productivity gain
- 1000% product quality gain
- Safety has increased by a 6 multiple
- Quality metrics have increased by a factor of 10
- The production of an Aeron chair now takes only 20% of the labour resource it did in 1998.
So how have they done it? Through the disciplined application of Kaizen (“improvement”), the famed management technique used by Toyota as it built itself up to be the largest car company in the world. Kaizen generally refers to the practise of continuous improvement across all functions of the business, from the CEO right the way through the business to include external stakeholders when applicable.
Contrary to what one might assume would be the nature of a continuous efficiency drive, kaizen actually drives hard at humanizing businesses, eliminating overly hard work by teaching employees how to spot and eliminate waste in business processes. This waste not only costs money, the symptom of an over worked, inefficient work force is increased absence, fatigue induced errors, low retention rates and high recruitment costs as a result. For kaizen to be truly effective the human resource side of the business has to be nurtured as successful implementation relies on the participation of workers in the improvement
Utilising the same labor force, Herman Miller produces 17 chairs, up from 5, and lead times have dropped from 2 months to 10 days. These improvements have been reached, and continue to be reached, a quarter to half a second at a time, month after month.
This is our assertion at watu. Staffing agencies have acres of opportunity to create additional efficiencies through the application of Kaizen. From the recruitment and on-boarding of temporary staff, through to the booking of shifts, the confirmation of contracts, the dissemination of shift details and the overall communication between the office and the field, there are minutes (not quarter or half seconds) to be saved. Minutes that add up to hours that add up to days.
Save days in increased efficiency and you reduce both costs and the burden of work on your team, increase their happiness at work, turning staff booking time in to client facing time and increasing the time spent talking to staff and building relationships. As the principle of kaizen states, external stakeholders should be included when appropriate. No industry requires external stakeholder participation more than the temporary staffing industry and yet so little is done to create efficiencies around collaboration, transparency and the sharing of information.
The application of kaizen in staffing is immensely exciting and will be hugely profitable to the teams that implement successfully. Successful implementation requires awesome technology. We’re building that technology at watu.