If I were to take a poll of readers, collecting the answer to the question, “What one business process is obviously wasteful and also too difficult to fix,” I think I can predict what a common answer might be. Take a moment to consider your own answer to the question.
If you said, “My office processes,” that is a common problem place, or perhaps you know this author too well and you are trying to predict my train of thought. I’m looking for only a single process, or at least a single function where the challenge of eliminating waste seems too difficult. The collective office processes are too broad.
How about the shipping dock? I’m sure each of us has ordered something from a manufacturer, supplier, or on-line retailer and been surprised either by the seemingly exorbitant shipping fee, or by the oddly oversized, over-packaged box in which our items arrived. Have you ever gone a step further than shaking your head and shrugging your shoulders? Have you ever investigated the shipping fee?
I have, on a few occasions over the years, tried to figure out if I’m getting “ripped off” by a retailer or supplier by checking the true shipping cost of an item that I ordered. My few and unordered observations are various in their indications.
I have discovered that indeed a few businesses have apparently made a profit from the shipping fee, I have discovered more than one that apparently lose money on shipping, and a couple that somehow charged me exactly what it cost to ship a collection of items even though my on-line transaction took place before the items were pulled from a shelf and put in a box to ship. Consider that for a moment and you too might decide that such an accomplishment deserves some applause.