I am at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida for the fourth time since 2008. This is one of the best hotels in the world and although we are working here, I have time to spend some hours a day outside at the beach, on the balcony or at the property to enjoy the nice weather with temperatures in the mid to high 80s (25 to 28 degrees Celsius). It is high season here. The hotel is almost 100 percent booked which means that there are 450 rooms and at least 700 guests—not counting private parties and business meetings—who want to be taken care of, every day, 24 hours,.
From my room I can overlook a large part of the property and the gulf of Mexico and I recognize that a couple of things repeat every day:
- When it is supposed to be a sunny day, about 200 or so deckchairs are brought to the beach every morning and are collected every afternoon (see picture)
- Specific beach entertainment equipment is installed every day and is brought back every afternoon.
- In the evenings, the pool areas are prepared for the next day so that they look the same each day.
- And, of course, there are all the repetitive activities that happen in every hotel: preparing for breakfast, lunch, dinner, check-in, check-out, and so on.
Acknowledging that the hotel business is not a high margin business (except for high season) and that it depends on people—Ritz-Carlton’s “Ladies and Gentlemen are Serving Ladies and Gentlemen”-philosophy is known all over the world—routine processes need to be standardized to a very high degree in order not to lose time and money on repetitive operations. The efficiency I can observe is remarkable: There is no time wasted by unnecessary loops and the people still stay very friendly. There is no time wasted, because the time is needed to deal with processes that are not or can not be standardized; processes one need to put some thinking on.
To what extend have you standardized your routines processes? Are they as streamlined as they could be? Or are you talking about deviations in routines over and over? How often do you do something we call “failure work,” which means correcting things at management level that could have done correctly at an operational level? Do you feel you spend too much time on this?
Stop it. Standardize and streamline your routine processes, make people responsible, and make sure your routines are executed properly. You can’t afford using your profit to subsidize failure work in routines. You need your creativity, your time, and your money for more important things in order to grow your business.