Capacity. In business, it is defined as “The maximum output that a business can produce in a given period with the available resources. “ In short, it tells us what we can do. There is machine capacity, people capacity, and business capacity. Businesses define themselves as at capacity, below or above capacity. No matter the definition, no matter what you are describing, capacity ultimately is controlled by your workforce. Yes, your people, the employees in your business or work unit drive your capacity.
How does that happen
Let’s start with a simple foundation statement. Your employees, your people in one way or another impact your machines, your processes, the size of your buildings and so forth will develop solutions to your problems, execute those solutions, and in terms of capacity, meet or successfully exceed what you believe your capacity is. Your people will use your processes or devise new ones, that improve the capacity of everything you have.
That means we first start with understanding your processes. In a manner of speaking processes are like rules. Your processes are how you do things. When someone doesn’t follow your process, they are breaking your rules…follow our processes. Your processes most likely made sense when you first designed or started using them. What they may not have done is evolved with technology, equipment, the market or the abilities of your people. You should review your processes regularly. Use the method I discussed in Process Problems – The Biggest Issue Impacting Business Performance to review them. During your review remember the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid). Overly complex processes are of no value to anyone.
“…remember the KISS principle…”
This part of the process is where you make money – both figuratively and literally. The review of your processes must include those doing the work. I cannot emphasize this enough if you are not using the people who do the work to look at and refine your processes you are losing out on a significant game-changer for your business. The benefits you will receive from this simple step (remember KISS) are significant. Your employees will feel both energized and valued. That, in turn, improves employee engagement, employee retention and eventually recruiting. One simple little part remains – you have to listen to those employees, and if what they suggest makes sense then you have to follow their lead.
For some business leaders and owners following the lead of their people, their workforce, makes them uncomfortable. After all, they are the boss and are supposed to know everything. This is something that as a boss or leader you are going to have to adapt to and overcome. This is most easily defined (KISS) as the ability to delegate. But this is delegation on steroids because you are tapping into a body of knowledge that can bring your business to new heights.
Following this step with your processes will develop new and more efficient processes for your business. That in turn, while reducing cost will also free up time to do more. That doing more is extra capacity. The extra capacity means more money for your business.