…For Business Operation Improvement*

February 5, 2013

Thirty Seven Ideas For Business Operation Improvement*Available At Amazon
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Thirty Seven Ideas For Business
Operations Improvement* AVAILABLE NOW

Authored by Ron Parker

*What Are The odds you Can Use At Least One?


The book [212: The Extra Degree] reminds us of the difference between boiling water and steam. With that one degree of difference, steam can move a locomotive. With images of the tiny difference between a prize winning race time and an Olympian “also ran” we are motivated to push for that extra effort that can make a difference in degree into a difference in kind.

Our mental life is a continual process of conceptually noting that things are either more or less the same or significantly different. The Extra Degree is a good reminder for us that there are transition points in context and our thinking where things can be both.

It is true that human and chimp intelligence has similarities that differ just in degree. This perspective lets us see our common primate nature in contrast with, say, chickens and fish. But, it is also true that there is a vast difference in kind that emerges somewhere between monkey and mankind. By a fundamental distinction, humans are a uniquely different kind of animal.

The business significance of “Degree and Kind” first appears in Business 101. The Break-even analysis looks at operations costs as the sum of fixed costs and additional variable costs which increase along with sales.

Few businesses can be profitable on one sale per year, and break-even is that point where the rate of sales breaks through to a difference in kind. It is that point where sales come in fast enough to pay variable costs and fixed costs with some profit remaining! Past the break-even point, profits begin to climb rapidly.

There is a companion strategy that makes hard work more effective: Move the boiling point. Many do not know that under certain conditions, water can boil with just the heat from your hand!

Savvy businesses can move their break-even point from higher volumes in good times to lower volumes in recession. By restructuring the way they do business, they trade a higher fixed cost for lower variable costs and increase profitability at high sales volumes. The reverse maneuver is harder but often possible when sales trends weaken.

Strategies that move the boiling point are what some call disruptive change or game changers. We are fortunate to live in a time where opportunities to restructure our work and life abound, but in-house continuous improvement processes may miss many of these opportunities. Ideas are often constrained by legacy, precedent and status-quo that pushes back against even small evolutionary changes.

We’ll always be inspired by the prospect of breakthrough, and the success of champions and heroes. Such images help us to remember to keep on task, to keep focused, to try again, and to work a little harder.

But, along with this we should always be working smarter. We should always be on the lookout for ways to move that “Difference in Kind” a few degrees in our favor.

Publication Date:June 22, 2011
ISBN/EAN13:0615500285 / 9780615500287
Page Count:154
Binding Type:US Trade Paper
Trim Size:5.5″ x 8.5″
Color:Black and White
Related Categories:Business & Economics / Production & Operations Management

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