Let me tell you a story.
About 24 years ago a sixteen year old girl was desperate for a part-time job so that she could afford to do the things sixteen year old girls like to do. Finally her prayers were answered when a Home for Retired Clergy opened in her small village and she got a job there waitressing.
Now this wasn’t any old retirement home. The Church of England Pensions Board looked after their retired bishops, archbishops and reverands rather well. Especially when it came to meal times. It was Silver Service waitressing all the way.
It was the prefect job for a sixteen year old. The shifts were short, just 2 hours each in the evenings after school (supper time) and at the weekends (breakfast, lunch and supper). It paid very well too. Double most other part-time jobs.
The girl took to the job like a duck to water but within a few shifts noticed a problem.
The residents would order their evening meal from a menu at lunchtime. Initially the kitchen relied on the residents to remember what they had ordered but come supper time they had usually forgotten what they ordered. The kitchen soon found they were running out of some meals and started making extra but the managers told them they needed to stick to their budget.
This meant that when it came to serving, the waitresses had to go round each and every resident and look through the menus from lunchtime to see what they had ordered.
This took a long time and meant the food on the trolley got cold. The only other option was to keep the food on the hot plate in the kitchen and run to and fro fetching each resident’s meal.
It didn’t take long for the girl to learn the resident’s names so one day while the residents were filing in and taking their seats (they could sit anywhere they wanted in the dining room) she drew up a quick seating plan, numbered the tables and as the residents sat down, scribbled their names on the plan. She scanned through the menus form lunchtime, identified which meal each resident had ordered and added that to the seating plan. So now, a trolley could be loaded up with the right meals for each resident and served to them hot, straight from the kitchen.
Before long all the waitresses adopted the system.The service became smoother, the residents got the correct meals and their meals arrived hot.
In fact it was so efficient that the manager of the home cut their shifts down from 2 hours to 1 hour 30 minutes because they were finishing up 30 minutes early every night.
Not such great news for the waitressing staff who were down 25% on their pay for each shift.
Great news for the business who were down 25% on their waitressing costs for each shift and had reduced food costs by a similar amount.
I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that girl was me.
This is what I do.
I make businesses more efficient. I put in place systems and structures to streamline them, increase productivity and reduce costs. That was nearly 25 years ago but I honed my skills even further working as an engineer, manager and consultant for 20 years. In that time I’ve developed systems on a much larger scale for businesses, departments, projects and programs. That’s what engineers do.
Some people mistakenly think engineers design, build and fix things.
Actually engineering is all about the balance between good design, function and cost.
That’s all that matters.
Engineering a brilliant business is exactly the same.
Design a business that looks and feels good, that provides the required functions for your customers (meets their wants and needs) at a viable cost, for them and for you.
Are you ready to engineer a brilliant business? One that frees up your time by becoming more efficient and more productive and reduces your costs/increases your sales at the same time?
Chief Brainy Girl & Founder of BGGB
P.S. As usual I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.