One of the first problems that must be dealt with in a new business is understanding the production process. Every business is different and can have its own specific characteristics, or be required to meet specific needs.
So it is very important to understand exactly what you are dealing with, and to examine each individual aspect, by dividing the production process into many small steps, which is essential when you are looking to optimise the output.
To explain this concept clearly, Grove uses the example of making a classic breakfast of boiled eggs and toast. For the breakfast to reach the client on time, there are a few things to consider before you start: the toast, coffee and boiled egg need to be ready at the same time, even though they have different cooking times. The one element that might seem unimportant does in fact hide the first secret to an efficient production process: time management. When analysing the production process of the aforementioned breakfast, we must keep in mind the egg’s cooking time so that we give it first priority, followed by the toast and then the coffee. If you have a lot of breakfasts to cook, you will need to organise a continuous system for boiling the eggs so that you always have some ready. You will need a continuous egg-boiler, which might mean rethinking the whole production process and adapting it accordingly.
Grove says that it is important to identify the so-called ‘sticking point’ that slows down or interrupts production, so as to build the process with the aim of overcoming that obstacle.
The breakfast example can be used on any type of business because Grove’s objective is to draw attention to the time factor. This is why a preliminary analysis of the process is a must when setting up a task. The focus must stay on the result.
Identifying both the strong and weak points of any process enables immediate intervention, to optimise the actions that must be taken to achieve the desired end result.