Roy Youngman, at a recent nGenera teleconference, told this story about how lean times forced a company to think creatively. As he very rightly says in the beginning:
Some people think that “do more with less” means make people work harder to compensate for the people that are let go. Other people think that “do more with less” means “work smarter, not harder”. If you think about it, both of these perceptions are rooted in a fundamental assumption that your existing operation is basically inefficient – that you have people wasting time or you have people working on the wrong things or you have people following bad processes. Depending upon your state of organizational maturity, all this may be true in which case you can “do more with less” by asking fewer people to work both harder and smarter. But good stewards of owner equity should always be trying to eliminate operational inefficiencies at all times, both good and bad. So what do you do if your people are already working hard, smart, and on the right things with the challenge of “do more with less”?
There is only one answer: Innovate!
I’ll expand on my own ideas for how to do this in another blog post – but in the meantime, read Roy’s story of how to do deliver a data warehousing solution without spending much money.