Let’s Save Some Money. Do Not Delay – Get the Benefits Today!
“We are considering the final three options to help us do cost reductions. We will make our final decision in a month’s time, and expect to implement a system by September”.
Excuse me? Why wait??
I have had this conversation three times in the last month, and each time my response has been the same. ‘Why wait?’
In today’s environment, cost reduction and control is paramount. Fortunately many enlightened companies are using the economic crisis as an opportunity to rethink their cost structure and business methods without resorting to knee-jerk headcount reductions. And yes, there are plenty of companies who have resorted to the tried and tested method of reducing headcount, but who have now found that they have to reduce costs further… and they do not have the spare headcount or time to think about, let alone implement, said cost reductions.
There is therefore a tremendous opportunity for companies to use the collective genius of their workforce – and beyond – to help them identify potential efficiency savings and process improvements. By that, I mean that they can ask a broad base of staff, practically instantaneously, for their ideas, suggestions, insights – and already implemented improvements – for submission, and to tie these submissions to a rapid review process, leading to implementation.
The key here is to change the way that companies do cost reductions. Instead of relying on, as one client called it, ‘BOGSIR’ (a bunch of guys sitting in a room) or on a bevy of highly paid consultants who troop into your firm asking everyone for their ideas, a firm goes out and uses an online system and optimized business process to harvest concepts and projects from their existing staff, wherever they may sit.
Imaginatik, my firm, pioneered this method at enterprise scale since 1998. Our expertise is in tapping into the brainpower of hundreds and thousands of people to solve problems, managing the end-to-end process from problem identification to project implementation (lightweight projects, that is).
Our firm has a long track record of successful implementations for cost reduction. At our Imaginatik User Group in Boston 2007 (held at Fenway Park), Whirlpool presented their P-200 project, using our Idea Central software to identify $38 million in expected savings by implementing improvements and process changes across seven areas of the business. This was a ‘complex project’, with its own Idea Central Portal for the project, and seven separate instances of the software set up to collect specific information around returns, distribution and other topics.
Another favorite of mine was Wal-Mart’s ‘Tapping into the Power’ project, run jointly with IBM and Imaginatik in 2008. This is a great example of ‘green for green’, using Idea Central and the brainpower of thousands to work on ideas for sustainability – and the reduction of wasted resources (in this case, electricity consumption).
Going back to my main point for this post: why wait? In the area of enterprise-scale crowdsourcing solutions for cost reduction, we have the largest market share (of paying customers) by a very long way. We have the most published case studies. We have a process method in use in over fifty firms. And we have a technology track record over more than 10 years, including winning various technology awards.
But key most of all, is that the solution to a company’s cost reduction problem – using the ‘crowd’ to help out – is well known and doable within a short number of days and weeks. Even though a firm may be new to the concept of crowdsourcing a solution, the knowledge is not new to world. And whilst there is a lot of intellectual property tied up in the knowledge of how to do this activity properly, Imaginatik has proven to be the trusted partner for many of the world’s most respected companies.
Final thought. We have one client, a major outsourcing company, who used Idea Central to yield a ‘golden list’ of cost reduction ideas. Just a subset of this golden list is generating over $1 million a day (sorry, cannot tell you where – that would be too easy – and would stop all the fun of looking). So, if you wait three months to implement a similar set of ideas, what do you lose?
As business people, we owe it to our workforce to find smarter ways of reducing costs, rather than simply wielding the hatchet. If you are reading this as an executive, I urge you to reach out to us, do your research, and work out a way of getting started. And if you are in a business, point the powers that be in our direction so they can start their own journey of enlightenment. There is power in the people – so let’s all help to fix this economic crisis.