One of the most exhilarating (and scary) parts of the job is how much new ground we get to break in our projects - and how much we just don't know ahead of time.
When we're changing something up, most of the real, nitty gritty details will be up to us to determine and implement. And there's no guide that can simply be copied and followed. Even best practices from other, similar operations aren't always applicable.
So on Monday, when we were running through the next version of our new custom pick 'n' pack operation - I stepped back and let others do the motion - starting my stop watch (after set up) to get a read on how fast we can pack custom boxes. We got to 1:03 per box. Not bad, but our goal is to cut that in half, and then see how much better we can do.
10 seconds is what it takes right now to pack a standard box - no customization. Our crew hustles and gets it done fast, but how much better can we get if we shine a bright light on the process? Are we pushing the physical limits already? Or is there a pile of hidden slack in the system?
On an other level - if we can get custom boxes down to at least the same pace as non-custom boxes, what impact will that have on the morale of ingenuity in our crew going forward? Everyone thinks it'll take longer to do custom. It probably will. BUT. If we're currently 25% inefficient, and we can cut that out while adding 25% time for custom - and then break-even - we'll all have collectively lived through a process of finding "Better."
As I like to say, "Better is Better," or "Mejor es mejor." Being happily proven wrong, being shown by our own experiences, that better is possible, can be transformative. Personally AND professionally.
That's what we're aiming for next week - Transformation.
(Like transforming eggplant into a delicious meal by cubing it and cooking it in a wok, with butter, olive oil, salt and pepper)
On another note, Sweet Potatoes are HERE! So, be on the lookout for fall flavors as they start too trickle in.
What are your favorite (and least favorite) fall crops?