One of my favourite expressions is: “You need to spend a quarter to make a dollar”. This is very true when it comes to equipping your employees to be productive. Here are some real life situations I have experienced as a small-business advisor:
Problem #1 Two work crews, but only one saw
Every morning before each crew went in different directions there was a pow-wow to determine who needed the saw most. One crew had lost the second saw and the owner didn’t want to pay for another. In fact, there were quite a few tools and basic equipment that were lost. From a financial standpoint the payroll for the two crews was about £200 per hour. The new saw cost less than £200.
The solution – I convinced the owner to restock the crews with everything they needed at a cost of around £1,000. We then set up a £500 tool fund. If the crew lost or broke a tool it was replaced and paid for from the tool fund cash. If at the end of the season they didn’t spend all of the money, the crew got to keep the remainder of the tool fund cash.
Problem #2 Employees sharing computers
The version of the software program that three employees used was only licensed for one user and wasn’t set up to run on a network. The employees took turns using the computer, which was located in an inconvenient place for two of them. From a financial standpoint, the three employees produced a total revenue of £210 per hour when productive.
The solution – We determined productivity would increase at least an hour a day with two new computers added. On an annual basis that’s £52,500 more revenue! That is a good return for roughly a £3,000 investment in two computers networked together and two more users on the license. (We didn’t even calculate the uplift from much happier employees!)
In both of the above examples, by spending a quarter, the business made far more than a dollar!
My suggestion is to talk to your teams about what tools they need to be more productive. When you evaluate the investment, calculate the value of the lost revenues from downtime and the payroll costs of unproductive employees, I suspect every business has an opportunity to spend a quarter to make a dollar.
'Paul Foster, The Business Therapist, is a business advisor and coach for personal and professional growth, practising in the UK, Canada and USA.