#Immediacy on speech making

Is there any equipment you could acquire which would reduce the number ...

Is there any equipment you could acquire which would reduce the number of men you need? Can you build up semi-finished stocks in advance so that less work has to be done during the peak? If all else fails, is it worth approaching the customer to persuade him / her to uplift in small batches? Is it worth offering some financial inducement to do so? As an alternative, or to supplement the reduction in workload, what can you do to make more people available without increasing permanent staff? I 'assume you are already using as much overtime as is practicable. Can you get any casual, part-time staff moonlighters, unemployed for peaks only? Would it help if your staff staggered work hours? Have you any other staff who could be drafted into this section at peak loads? Are there any union demarcation problems? If so, can a solution not be negotiated? If the other staff are less skilled, can the working methods be reorganized to use these .less skilled people? Can you engage contractors just at peak times only? Reduce the workload If you don't suffer from the peak workload problem, or have overcome it, you can feel less inhibited about reducing the workload. Obviously one of the best ways of reducing manpower is to reduce the workload they have to do. The best place to start this is with overtime, because investigation may show that the workload doesn't exist.

If left unchecked, overtime has a habit of creeping up. In many firms, regular overtime is regarded as a way of 'keeping the boys happy'. This became particularly acute during an earlier period when employers conspired with employees to get round wage controls and fill their vacancies. The subsequent recession has largely eliminated this, but there may be pockets where it still occurs, unknown to higher management.

Also, weak supervisors often submit to blackmail when told that jobs won't be ready on time unless some overtime is paid. For this reason, overtime is one of the items which should be included in the 'short, sharp shock'. Once you demonstrate that you investigate thoroughly any request for overtime which is submitted, you'll be surprised at the drop in the number of requests. We suggest that you don't waste time investigating why this has happened just be grateful that you have achieved a reduction in cost with so little effort. Meeting the needs of the customer is the prime consideration when running a business.

But you can still try to meet these needs with less workload on your part. Indeed, if you look at articles common today and those made fifty years ago, you will see that in almost every case today's article has a lower labour content' This effort to reduce labour content is a continuous one which your competitors will keep up whether you do or not. There are also customers who will want the price to keep coming down and some of them, at least, will accept a lower standard of product or service if it is cheaper.

If you choose to maintain your standard that is a challenge that you accept.

But you may be at a disadvantage compared with some of your competitors, depending upon your type of business and class of market.

The first thing to look at is your product design, if manufacturing the type of goods sold, if selling or nature of service. Can the design concept be changed in any way which will reduce your workload? Can you change the starting materials or components to reduce the amount of subsequent work needed? Can you change the finish, or packaging, or the type of delivery service given? The next item for study is working methods. If you have changed the design or concept, does this give you an opportunity to adopt more efficient methods? Even if your end-products or services are unchanged, you have gained a lot of experience since you started your business. If you were starting from scratch to make the same products, would you do it the same way? There may be new materials or tools which have come on the market in recent years.

Can any of them be used to streamline your methods? Talk to your production/sales/service staff, the ones who actually do the work on the shop floor or face to face with customers.

Have they any ideas you can pick up, even if they need to be developed? Can the layout of your workplace be changed to reduce manpower needs? Don't think only of the production floor and sales area; what about the stores, office and other 'little rooms'? Has your turnover increased so much since the business started that everywhere is now too congested? Could you take down some walls or partitions to make access easier? Can you extend your building? Even if you still have enough space, has experience pointed out changes you could make to streamline the movement of people and things? Could the traffic floor in your yard be improved so that you could speed up loading and unloading? Could a better layout help to smooth some of the fluctuations in workload? When you started your business, you probably installed all the labour-saving equipment you could afford.

Now you may have more cash available or at least your credit ...

Now you may have more cash available or at least your credit rating has improved enough for you to borrow more to buy or lease more equipment.

So what use are you goi... read more

Perhaps you don't agree with some or all of the above. Well, ...

Perhaps you don't agree with some or all of the above. Well, it's your business and you can run

If they have a union or staff association, the approach is likely ...

If they have a union or staff association, the approach is likely to be made through this body. If not, don't assume that silence means acquiescence.

They are losing an