Does One Second Really Matter? (The purpose of labor standards)

We know what you’re thinking: “Does one second really matter all that much?” If you are in the retail business, the answer is a resounding “YES!” Time is money in the business world, and small amounts of time wasted can quickly add up into lots of lost profits. Let’s take a further look into the purpose of labor standards and why one second truly does matter.

 There’s not a second to waste, let’s get started!

The Measure of Success: Engineered Labor Standards

The foundation for all effective retail time management is engineered labor standards. These standards are the individual measures of how long every single activity that makes up your workflow should take to run at its most efficient and profitable. The more specific and accurate the measures of your engineered labor standards are, the more effective time management can become. Increased specificity comes from additional time standards that are distinctive to a particular store, which allows for an enhanced ability to excel with time management.

Think of the importance of implementing the most accurate engineered labor standards for time management through the following example:

  • If your engineered labor standards have employee time-measured segments divided into 30-minute intervals, it is mathematically possible to have 26 possible start and end times for employees during a 13-hour day.
  • If your engineered labor standards are divided into smaller, more precise segments of 15-minute intervals, there now becomes the possibility for 52 start and end times for employees during a shift of the same length

Now, consider that the measurement of engineered labor standards takes into account every motion and the time for every task. Consider that wasted motion and actions can be eliminated and that beneficial activities can be optimized. If your weekly payroll is $10,000 and, if introducing ELS can reduce reduce wasted time by 20%, not only will efficiency improve, but also you may well be able to reduce payroll expenses by $2,000 per week ($104,000 per year) and still deliver a higher degree of customer satisfaction by scheduling more effectively.

 A time managed schedule is a smart schedule.

Mastering Time Management

Additionally, engineered labor standards help streamline activities that could be detrimental to time management. For example, a manager could lose time dealing with a paper schedule that has to be manually updated and changed on a regular basis. Engineered labor standard implementation helps you identify areas such as this that can cause the misuse of time so that you can create processes to increase effectiveness.

Once all tasks have been enhanced to their maximum efficiency through engineered labor standards, time management can really begin to be seen. Managers can now properly prioritize and schedule required day-to-day activities.

One survey of executives found that their most successful time management tip was to maintain a balance between tasks. A great way to implement this in your business is to have certain recurring tasks designated a specific time each day, then maintain that schedule. We all know how easy it can be to start sifting through emails and, before you know it, most of your day is shot. By allowing certain amounts of time for each required activity, all needed activities will continue to be addressed without wasted time. Your business will be utilizing proper time management at the highest level.

 You go to quickly check your inbox and, before you know it, you’re two hours in…unless you have a time managed schedule and have already moved on to you next priority task.

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