Innovation is easier to understand and apply to a product than a process or service. The process of improving a product or anything that is tangible comes easier given that it can be used and determined as easy or difficult.
Listing the item’s faults or challenges then brainstorming and analyzing alternative mechanics or production enhancements is more natural than applying the same kind of evaluation to a process or service. However, it’s not impossible. The key is creating an environment that allows for and encourages innovation.
How Mainstay Innovates
Innovation at Mainstay is necessary. The team has proven very creative over decades of work. Our methods at the beginning of our journey do not look much like the way we do things today. If you could see a snapshot of each time period, you might think “Wow, look how much better Mainstay is today. They couldn’t possibly have much to improve.”
We can still improve, and we will. Even with all of the innovative ideas and process improvements that the team has already applied, we continue looking for time savings and process investment to improve our efficiency, identify and remove waste.
The management team utilizes budget tools and is held accountable to Profit & Loss goals to help evaluate areas in the process in which to focus. KPIs for the production teams in each department measure Value Add Efficiency to help identify individual or process focus for improvement.
This can also help identify contracts that have been incorrectly estimated—both too high and too low of the actual cost. When identified, we can bring that information to the relationship for reevaluation. In some cases, we may lose that business. The other avenue is that the relationship will accept the adjustment and move forward. Regardless if we lose the business or the new valuation is accepted, we maintain our gross profit expectation.
Why Innovation Is Important and How to Make it Happen?
Innovation must be part of the culture of an organization. Creating an environment that empowers innovation all of the time instead of deciding only to innovate when something is wrong will help keep business moving smoothly and ensure meaningful change occurs when necessary.
When the team is empowered to be innovative and comfortable questioning whether or not an area can be improved, they will own the process. Let your team innovate instead of trying to control that burst of creativity. They’re on the front lines, encourage them to make things work more efficiently.
Management’s role is to ask thought-provoking questions without being too specific and then get out of the way. Allow the team who truly knows the process to determine how something might become better.
Mainstay has found success in translating ERP system statics into visual tools on the production floor for the team to maintain certain efficiencies. This was only possible because the environment at Mainstay is one that allows for innovation.
The goal of any team should be to foster an environment where innovation happens organically. At Mainstay we work strategically to ensure that our team can innovate and make processes work better for both ourselves and our partners. Contact us today to learn more.