Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Guest Columnist Tony Ferraro: Evolution and Improvement: The Creation of a One Stop Shop

These days, life is all about making things better, cheaper, and faster. Convenience is something we have not just grown to enjoy, but something we've also grown to expect. For instance, if you have a working credit or debit card you can conveniently pay at the pump for gas instead of having to walk all the way up to the store and wait in line to pay. This form of convenience has also muddled its way into the pharmaceutical business sector as well. For instance, many pharmacies now offer handy conveniences such as drive thorough lanes to drop off or pick up prescriptions and even better yet online ordering so customers don't even have to leave the comfort of their own home to retrieve a needed prescription.

The Experience of a One Stop Shop

In the past decade, convenience has really been on the forefront of innovation. When things are convenient, it is easier to get more done in less time and with less hassle, for instance, this could be coined a one stop shop. Essentially, a one stop shop is a place where you can complete multiple tasks quickly and efficiently all at one location. This brings a specific example to my head. Last week my wife and I went out shopping at a new Super Target. We have been to many Targets in the past but not very many "Super" Targets. Anyhow, this is where I witnessed true convenience at work. After entering the building and taking a brief look around, I realized that Super Target really is the epitome of a one stop shop. In this one location, I could pick up a few household items, get my eyes examined, see a doctor at the same day clinic, pick up a prescription, have a nice brunch at Starbucks, go grocery shopping, and pick up my photos on the way out! Wow! Years back all of these tasks would have required nearly 7 separate stops at 7 different locations and taken me at least a few days to complete. However, in this day and age I could get it all done plus more at a Super Target in just a few short hours!

Efficiency Weaved Thorough the Workplace

Isn't it true that every person brings a whole unique set of skills and experiences? Why not use these skills and talents to their fullest potential to also weave convenience through the workplace as well? Instead of doing things the same way just because that's the way they have always been done, look for ways to improve and streamline processes. For example, if your work environment features multiple workstations doing very similar things, try setting all of them up in the same manner. This way employees can all be trained using the same criteria and employees can move effortlessly from workstation to workstation without losing productivity. By doing this, you are creating organization and convenience, while improving productivity, and most of all setting the stage for overall efficiency. In addition, since employees carry a plethora of knowledge and information, ask employees for input to help make value added changes. Remember Super Target didn't build itself overnight. It took time, planning, innovation, teamwork, and the risk of potential failure to make it all happen. Improvement is not easy but it will happen with or without you so get on board and be a part of the efficiently movement. My grandfather always said "what fun would a boat ride be if you never had any waves?"

Efficiency is Everywhere

It's important to realize that convenience and efficiency are not just reserved for pumping gas, shopping trips or in the workplace. In reality, efficiency can really be put into action anywhere and within anything when the right innovations and adjustments are made. We live in a constantly changing world where virtually anything is possible. With a little hard work and dedication things will continue to change and most likely efficiency and convenience will improve with them.

On behalf of Creative Safety Supply ( based in Portland, OR, I strive to provide helpful information to create safer and more efficient industrial work environments. My knowledge base focuses primarily on practices such as 5S, Six Sigma, Kaizen, and the Lean mindset. I believe in being proactive and that for positive change to happen, we must be willing to be transparent and actively seek out areas in need of improvement. An organized, safe, and well-planned work space leads to increased productivity, quality products and happier workplace.

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