12 May 2011

A Follow Up to Elimination Vs Streamlining

I thought that my post, The Curse of Assumed Common Goals, might not have presented a fair balancing of the elimination and the streamlining method. I, of course, favor the streamlining approach, but I recognize that it might not be the best approach in every situation. Thus, I have crafted this follow up in hopes of expressing a more balanced view of the different tools.

Organizationally, the diet method is likely to lead to a reduction of services, possibly even key services, that could then cause other services within the company to suffer—reducing the assembly management staff may result in more inferior product being delivered and thus a spike in service issues—thus causing a cascade of unintended effects that need to be considered before eliminations take place. Streamlining minimizes these impacts by keeping key services in place and instead focuses on making those processes more productive and efficient. It is not common for streamlining to have unintended fallout of any significant proportion.

Streamlining does have drawbacks of its own. While almost every system has some efficiencies that can be easily gained, these efficiencies are often small. The real economy of efficiencies often taken a deeper analysis than elimination and require some upfront investment to make the streamlining viable. While elimination cost savings can be realized nearly instantly (or after the cuts actually take place), streamlining cost savings often take time to be realized. The length of time depends entirely on the expense that goes into the streamlining efforts and the efficiency savings gained in the process.

Elimination also provides more concrete results. While streamlining might save some time here, and more time there, it cannot always compensate for the disparate savings (efficiency might have saved 40 hours a week, but it does little good if those hours are spend across 10 different people). Elimination makes this easier: this person is gone, how do we make sure their work gets done?

For all of its golden goodness, streamlining alone is often not enough and the rearrangement tools used in the elimination process in order to truly realize the savings brought to bear by streamlining.

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