Growth on Your Mind? Grab a Hammer & Some Air
Updated: Feb 14, 2020
Growing a business is hard work! If it were easy, every business in America would be growing double digits, but they are not. Mind you, it's not simply hard work that creates growth, lots of things need to come together:
Talent that is capable of growth and jumps on board.
Innovation - New, exciting products and services and ways of getting things done.
A healthy dose of creativity.
Excellent execution - Doing what you say you will do.
There are real constraints in the small business world. Money comes to mind. Another one?
SPACE. And not just any space.
In our world at PAVERART, not all space ("square footage) is created equal. In other words, a foot of FLOOR space is MUCH more valuable than space that goes north (air space). Why?
One of our enduring principles at PAVERART is to build products with 100% accuracy and meeting our customer's expectations. Quality. That requires that we actually build our designs on the floor, inspect them, then dis-assemble those designs in a packaging format that makes an installers job easy.
This "Build and Break Down" process is the only way to ensure we are building a product that can be "re-built" at the clients location with success. So therefore, FLOOR space is critical. Air space, not as much.
Also part of meeting a customers expectations relates to the "when can I get it?" Delivering a product WHEN you say it can be done is a real challenge, especially at a company like ours where 90%+ of our work is "made to order" and not on a shelf ready to be shipped.
Inventory is a POSSIBLE solution but when customers expect the opportunity to mix & match shapes, sizes, colors, that's simply impossible to predict (at least we haven't figured out how to get inside that clients creative brain waves!) and build in advance.
So how can you get better at "speed to market?" One way to do it is to add production capacity.
1) You can extend your work-day. Work longer/harder!
2) You can get more PRODUCTIVE in the hours you are working. Work more efficiently!
3) You can ADD production capacity - Newer and/or additional machinery. Produce more in the hours available.
Right now, PAVERART is tackling #2 & #3.
Next week we will have a new primary piece of equipment, significantly increasing our production capacity and should absolutely help in getting products to clients faster. Also, we become less vulnerable to the inevitable "down time" that occurs in the world of machinery.....break downs.
All shops struggle with this issue and focusing on preventative maintenance is the BEST solution, but machines can be fickle!
So back to air. When you max out your floor space, as we have, you need to look UP.
To fit our new machine, we need to knock down a room, a room where we do Fundraising Brick Engraving. That's where the new machine will go. Machines haven't figured out how to operate in mid-air!
Than we re-locate that Engraving room to a new, TALL room that aims to replicate the overall work-space. People can work off the ground (with platforms) and raw material can also be stored high.
And while we are at it, we think we can reconfigure a few things that make the process of making an engraved brick MUCH less time consuming. Less handling of the product. Less "back breaking." Backs tend to get sore when your working bent over vs level! These little enhancements add up over time. Hard to see immediately, but critical in the growth equation.
When you embark on a new project, especially one costing a bunch of money, you might as well look at everything.
Probably the most important steps of any project related to the goals you establish before you even START.
Back to Growth:
If your going to grow, can you really get there with your current set up?
If not, maybe expectations need to be changed. Or you need to get your creative juices flowing and start the problem solving process. The fun part in the game of business is that there are usually MULTIPLE paths forward to solve a problem.