In a recent post, we discussed how efficiency and cost were tied together. This is absolutely true, and the same goes for Quality and Safety.
Larger corporations have entire divisions and departments dedicated to safety. Operational safety awareness and safety hazards are some of the most important elements of an operation. Any safety issue not addressed could lead to extremely high costs in lawsuits, replacing unsafe plant equipment with new PE, and also with accidents and injuries on the job. It is clear that safety issues directly relate to liability. Without proper safety procedures enforced from management to bottom level employment, we leave the door open for risk as well.
I firmly understand the desire to overlook safety in terms of efficiency and costs. The thought process of an effective operator is usually “by any means necessary”. Never do this, as 99.9% of the time it is guaranteed to come back to bite you in the long run. In business there are both good and bad bets, but a bet where you lose 99.9% of the time is never a good one. Be sure to instill this value into all of your employees as well.
While logistics operations have become good at handling safety issues, small business operations usually fall short. While there is food safety here in NYC, with its associated health grades, most small businesses do not have their own dedicated books of safety procedures (unless required by city, state, or federal law). Safety procedures are necessary, but with this good practice of establishing procedural rule guides, the small business owner should also carry that over to every other aspect of their operation. Procedural guides and action plans are key to efficiency, and following them lowers cost. They should not only be developed by people of high management rank, they must also gain the input of the people that will have to use them daily. What is most important is that a customer or client that sees these methods in action, thinks one thing; QUALITY.
Whether you are for or not for profit, logistics or small business, it should go without saying that quality is paramount. At the time of this writing, I was serving as business operations advisor to a not for profit music outreach program. Perfect quality is like the lost golden city of El Dorado, impossible to find; so we set up a system where the bar is constantly increased. Systems and procedures must be in place to constantly achieve as close to perfect quality as possible. At this not for profit, we have implemented a system where quality can be measured both internally and externally, both are equally important.