As a busy metal fabrication business, efficiency and effectiveness are key factors that determine the success of our company. One essential skill that can significantly impact our journey towards greatness is the art of prioritizing tasks. This article explores the insights from Stephen R. Covey’s book, “First Things First,” and how they can be applied to help All Metals Fabrication thrive.
Prioritization is the process of determining which tasks or activities deserve your time and attention. In the metal fabrication industry, where precision and timeliness are paramount, making the right choices about where to allocate resources can be a game-changer. Covey’s book emphasizes the significance of this skill in achieving both personal and professional goals.
Covey introduces the Time Management Matrix, a tool that categorizes tasks into four quadrants based on urgency and importance. This matrix helps individuals and companies differentiate between tasks that are truly important and those that are simply urgent but may not contribute to long-term success.
– Focus on Quadrant II: Activities that are important but not urgent, such as preventive maintenance, process improvement, Waste RIP, Process Mapping, & employee training, can enhance efficiency and product quality over time. This is something that AMF excels at but can only accomplish with everyone’s involvement.
– Minimize Quadrant III: Tasks that are urgent but not important, like constant fire-fighting, can drain resources without adding long-term value. This can be accomplished by early planning of large projects, and focus on reducing waste during a projects lifecycle. A recent post about the Grand Junction Temple (in Yammer) by Justin is a great example, where holding planning meetings makes a huge difference in how the job can come together.
To become a great company, a metals fabrication business should have clear goals and align its tasks with these objectives. Covey suggests setting and communicating a clear company mission and vision, which can guide decision-making and task prioritization. In case you haven’t seen them in a while below is AMF’s Mission and Vision:
• AMF’s Mission is the never-ending pursuit toward improving individual lives- inside and outside the company. Our relentless commitment is to strengthen people, support families and build communities.
• AMF’s vision is to be the absolute best company in our industry by amazing out customers with both amazing value and unrelenting service, and by constant, unwavering effort to build a culture of individual respect, continuous improvement, and hard work.
Covey advocates for weekly planning sessions to identify and schedule tasks according to their importance. For metals fabrication, we have a biweekly meaning where we plan production schedules, quality control checks, and we hold other strategic meetings to ensure that critical tasks are given the attention they deserve.
In “First Things First,” Covey also emphasizes the importance of empowering employees to make decisions aligned with the company’s goals. We do this by empowering all employees to suggest and implement Poke-Yoke, Continuous Improvement and Waste Rest in Peace (RIP) projects. We also work to delegate tasks and responsibilities effectively, by distributing the workload and ensuring that important tasks are addressed at all levels of the organization.
Prioritizing tasks, as outlined in Stephen R. Covey’s “First Things First,” is a fundamental skill that can transform an average company into a great one. By using tools like the Time Management Matrix, aligning tasks with company goals, and empowering employees, such businesses can improve efficiency, product quality, and overall success. In a competitive industry, like ours, mastering the art of prioritization can be the key to sustained greatness.