Contrary to popular belief, management's role isn't to get the most productivity out of employees. It is to get the most value out of current assets. Sure employees are a big part of the equation, but the subtle shift in thinking creates huge rewards in any economy where "doing more with less" is the challenge and the norm.

    You know this already. Doing more with less has always been the role of management. Think back to the invention of the cotton gin. Its power was that one machine could do the work of many people. The same with the steam engine - it harnessed the power of steam to generate power. The industrial revolution brought automation to the production floor, birthing assembly lines and mass production.

    Fast forward 100 years, and nothing's changed. People automate and digitize everywhere, and you should as well. You need to focus on increasing output per person, streamlining material goods flow, working closer with vendors, implementing systems and structures that diminish errors and connecting to your customers digitally.

    The challenge is how. Do you purchase more technology and eliminate people and/or add services to increase the value of your customers? How do you keep up and keep revenue flowing in?

    Do more with less by asking the right questions:
    1) What would a perfect shipment look like in ultimate terms? No employees? Seamless integration with the rest of the organization? Minimal costs?
    2) How do you get the items needing to be shipped in the proper format to eliminate handling? Maybe you're doing a good job, but if the back end was fixed, you could do a great job.
    3) Is there a way the vendors we utilize can modify their configurations to fit ours? Anything from pallet height and weight to box configuration, time of delivery or markings could be considered.

    From the shipping executive and the logistics manager to the plant supervisor, customers are demanding more and expecting it for less. By making the shift from getting more out of your people to modifying every aspect of business to do more with less, you ensure your organization's survival and competitiveness in years to come. That's your role as management.

    David and Lorrie Goldsmith are managing partners of MetaMatrix Consulting Group, LLC. ( They consult, speak and write articles for executive management. You can reach them at 315-682-3157 or email them