Value 2d: Eliminate Unnecessary Costs

At Blue Raven Solar, we have three values:

 

1. Develop a High-Trust Culture

2. Be Efficient

3. Continuously Improve.

 

Each value is accompanied by four statements that try to capture what living this value means for us.

 

Our second value, “Be efficient,” means four things for us:

 

2a: Produce results that are worth more than they cost to deliver

2b: Obsessively reduce cycle times in every area

2c: Keep the sales and field experience simple (even if it means adding complexity elsewhere)

2d: Stay lean – eliminate unnecessary costs (even through periods of rapid growth)

 

Value 2d is our topic today: Stay lean – eliminate unnecessary costs.

 

 

Since the COVID-19 outbreak picked up steam in the United States, I’ve been asked many times whether we will be introducing massive layoffs. Surely a value about efficiency would dictate that we eliminate jobs as soon as possible, right? WRONG.

 

Value 2d is about unnecessary costs. Our human capital is not only a necessary cost – it’s our most important asset. We are going to do everything in our power to preserve jobs while ensuring health.

 

Value 2d expresses the idea that we should always be looking for ways to eliminate waste from our processes. When disrupting a multi-hundred-year-old industry, every penny matters. At Blue Raven Solar, we are heavily focused on discovering better ways of working so that we can deliver the maximum value to homeowners as they make the switch to renewable energy.

 

We asked employees how they experience value 2d at Blue Raven Solar. Here is what some of them said:

 

We stay lean through discovering better ways of working. The leadership team is always working to eliminate excess work and refine it down to only the most important aspects of the work.

 

It often takes more time, but by digging into the root cause of a problem, we’ve been able to eliminate unnecessary, recurring costs.

 

We are always looking for more cost-effective platforms to help us literally eliminate unnecessary costs.

 

People are constantly thinking of ideas and presenting them to leaders as a way to find solutions to unnecessary costs.

 

We are really disciplined with our staffing numbers. It could be easy to just hire up a storm to solve our problems, but our disciplined hiring strategy forces us to stay lean and find other solutions.

 

Blue Raven is great at staying lean. As a business I think it can be easy to incur unnecessary costs but it’s important to prioritize and see what is needed and what is extraneous.

 

We’ve been increasing our speed and productivity through the last two weeks by helping each other to reduce downtimes and therefore unnecessary costs.

 

I really like that we are implementing automated processes to keep our cycle times quick and eliminate the need for additional coordinators, plus the coordinators we do have can be allocated to different tasks.

 

Being able to pass the task to the right department to handle, so that it does not take extra time and resources to solve.

 

Scheduling – I’ve noticed that after changing some of the FOTs to Site Surveyors, I’ve been scheduled for appointments that are closer together and in a more specified area. That lets me get to my surveys quicker and potentially lets me get more appointments done per day. Good job schedulers!We always try and see the most economical, speedy, and most reliable solution to proceed with during upgrades of any sort.

 

Engineering streamlines the design tool so much in order to make our job go faster so we can be more efficient and productive. By cutting out the unnecessary time that it took to do some calculations and other things. Thanks Engineering!

 

Currently, the marketing team has been looking to cut down on costs from third party providers by bringing many aspects in-house. I personally have seen the BRS team stay lean by picking and choosing the most effective methods to produce organic and paid leads.

 

When we follow up with our crews on progress, it makes them feel more accountable and they have more of a desire to finish things on the day they start a project, rather than splitting it into multiple days that they could be doing other things.

 

I’ve seen some installers keep new parts from jobs they don’t end up using and then use them on a different job to save costs and materials.

 

Every coordinator on the installation scheduling team has stepped up their game in a time where the number of installation crews has grown by 20% in a relatively short amount of time. This has allowed for growth in the installation machine without having to increase corporate staffing.

 

The utilities team has not added any new people since the beginning of the year even when sales have picked up. We instead have been finding new ways to cut cycle times and get more work done with less time.

 

We’ve done this in proposals, with costs being related to time. We have consistently gotten better with our speed of our proposals by cutting away unnecessary processes that would have slowed us down.

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