Whether you are in an industry that gets busier in some seasons or experiences fluctuations year round, there are some times when you will be busier than others. There are things that you as a manager can do to gear up for those busy times and perhaps find better ways of operating during the busy days. The best time to devise a strategy to deal with this is during the slow times.
When things get hectic, all of the problems seem to be magnified. What was a slight problem in the slow times became a huge nightmare when things got busy. What you and your subordinates need to do at that time is to keep track of all of those problems. Chances are they will show themselves once again the next time things get busy. That is, if no changes are made to prevent it from happening again.
When things get slow, inform all your subordinates that you would like them to think of everything that went wrong and every problem they encountered when things got busy. Tell them to compile a list. Also to write down everything they can think of that can be done to resolve the issue or to at least improve the situation. Then arrange a meeting where everyone will have an opportunity to present the information they have to offer.
During the meeting, go around to each person and give them the opportunity to present their information to the group. The group should then discuss the issues presented by that person and then move on to the next person in the group. Do this until you are finished.
You will probably notice that more than one person may have encountered each issue and each person may have something to offer as a suggestion for the resolution of the problem. Perhaps some changes can be made that may require some sort of authorization from upper management or certain details have to be researched. You may need another meeting later after those things are addressed.
After the various problems are addressed and there are different procedures or changes in the methods of operation, you may have to have some form of formal training sessions where everyone can learn of the details regarding the changes. Again, this all takes place during the slow periods.
Now when things pick up again, see how the new changes in operation work out for you. Things will probably improve but you may now notice other problems or bottlenecks that weren’t as noticeable because of the more noticeable ones that were worse, the last time around. You may even have new bottlenecks now because the old ones were resolved. Keep track of those problems. The important thing is to work out all of the kinks in your day to day operations and to streamline whatever processes you can.
After this busy period is over, repeat the process. Do this over and over again on a continual basis. This will help you to develop better operating procedures and operate more efficiently. You may even be able to address safety issues or other concerns. Hiring issues may come into play. Perhaps you should hire people with a different skill set than you’ve already been hiring. Perhaps skills that would enable future employees to perform the various job duties better or more efficiently.
The point is to constantly strive to improve upon the methods and procedures you use in your day to day operations. Once these improved procedures are developed, each member of your team can be trained in them. After that, every new hire should be taught how to use the new and improved methods. However, that should not be the end of it. New hires come with different backgrounds and experiences, and may themselves have unique ideas for improvements to offer. It’s all a little something for everyone to do, to gear up for the busy season.