The 5 Biggest Mistakes Business Are Making Today: Trying to Do More With Less

Editor’s Note: Humetrics CEO Mel Kleiman has been helping employers recruit, select, and retain front-line employees & managers for over 30 years. He knows what works — and what doesn’t. This is the second of  “The 5 Biggest Mistakes Businesses Are Making Today.”

By Mel Kleiman

Mistake #2: As the old saw goes: “You cannot do more with less.”

My twist on it is this: “You can only do more with less if you add Hamburger Helper®.” In other words, instead of cutting this and trimming that, what we can do is look at doing it better or differently.

Creative problem solving is the answer

What we have to ask is:

  1. Are we doing the right things? and, if we are;
  2. Can we do them another faster/better/cheaper way?

Creative problem solving is the only way it’s possible to do more with less.

When the Houston economy took a nosedive in the 1980’s, Allright Parking’s revenues dropped so drastically that they could no longer afford to have an attendant on duty at every lot. The manager in Corpus Christi (whose income in part came from profit sharing) then came up with the idea of putting numbers on all of the spaces and a box on the lot where people could deposit their money.

That’s how you do more with less. Now they needed only two people per shift to check the boxes and take care of all 20 lots. Two people and some “Hamburger Helper®” instead of 20 people and shrinking profits. Profitability was restored thanks to innovative creativity.

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You need to ask your employees how to do it differently

I was talking to a manager of Jason’s Deli, a sandwich and salad bar, and he told me they’ve saved over two hours a day in prep time by not cutting the tops off the strawberries they use to garnish certain plates.

These cost-and-time-saving measures had no impact on the customer experience. Instead of simply cutting things out of your budget or curtailing hours or services, look at doing things differently instead.

And don’t ask only yourself how you could do the job better or differently. Ask every one of your employees, the people doing the jobs, the people who understand them best.

This was originally published on Mel Kleiman’s Humetrics blog.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.

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