Fixing One Thing Can Fix A Lot Of Things – Part 4 of 11

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In my last One Thingology Blog post, we talked about a couple different kinds of constraints. Physical Constraints and Policy Constraints. Now it’s time to look at the implications of breaking a constraint.

Remember my original assertion that “One Thing Can Change Everything”? Well, let’s talk about the implications of breaking my delivery policy constraint. The first implication, and most obvious one was we were able to produce, deliver and install more product because we no longer were constrained by the policy constraint that required all the cabinetry for a project to be ready before we delivered and installed any of the cabinetry (we stopped batching delivery and installation).

The first challenge was that we now had to be strategic on what cabinetry got produced when (it never mattered before, when we wouldn’t deliver until all the cabinetry for a project was manufactured). It was not helpful to just have random cabinets for the project, we needed all the cabinetry for specific rooms so the installers could actually install cabinetry, not just deliver cabinetry.

Another challenge, and a little more difficult one since part of the solution was outside our control, was convincing our builder clients that it was to their benefit for us to bring cabinetry incrementally rather than all at once (we not only had to overcome our own inertia, we had to convince others to allow us to overcome their inertia).

It was amazing to see their reluctance melt into enthusiasm as we persuaded them (sometimes with money) to allow us to do one job this way and then decide if we could continue to do so. They not only liked getting all the secondary baths and laundry cabinetry first, then the master bath, wet bar, butlers pantry and built-ins, and then, last but not least, the kitchen, they loved it. This allowed them to schedule other subs earlier, and seemed to help with Subageddon (when all subcontractors are in the house AND all their vehicles are in the driveway at the same time).

When we began the process of breaking this policy constraint, we never envisioned the many benefits we would receive, the largest benefit being the impact on CASH-FLOW. As soon as we began multiple deliveries, we also began multiple billings, so instead of one large bill for the entire project, we might see a $45,000.00 project turn into three $15,000.00 invoices spread out over 3 to 12 weeks, depending on the project progression. I mean who doesn’t like improved cash-flow? Anybody?

The discovery that unintended consequences are not always negative or bad was welcomed with open arms and eventually open minds. We were ecstatic that fixing ONE THING could not only solve a myriad of symptoms, but could also affect so many other things for the positive. Changing one thing can indeed affect everything.

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