I put writing a book about cost cutting and productivity improvement on my business-related bucket list after attending a presentation where the speaker said, “Don’t die with a book in you.”
The topic was an easy choice because I have been involved with cost-cutting and productivity-improvement projects my entire business career. The topic has been, is now, and I believe will continue to be relevant.
The book’s main message is that any organization can plan and implement a successful cost-cutting and productivity-improvement project with the proper focus. It is far better to initiate a program rather than have one imposed on you. What an organization does with cost savings is the key to make meaningful improvements and be more successful.
The highlight of my research for the book was discovering how differently consultants approach a similar project. Consultants readily shared the positive results of projects they performed, but they were not as forthcoming to discuss their methodology. Generally the different approaches consultants used to perform the same project included addressing it from the financial side, the operations side, and from the customer service side.
One important thing I learned is that I would have benefited certain clients if I had learned and employed Kaizen techniques, because the results achieved by an experienced Kaizen consultant were generally consistently good.
I have been gratified by the positive reaction to my book. Surprisingly, readers liked it for different reasons. Some liked the common sense axioms and philosophies; some liked the examples of successful projects described by consultants and managers, while others liked the table of contents, because it describes the topics included which makes it easy to select and read various sections.
If I am fortunate enough to write a second edition of the book, I already know ways that I will improve it.
My next writing effort will be an essay about the experiences I had on my first consulting assignment as a neophyte consultant.
Fred H. Neu is a certified management consultant with over 35 years experience in consulting and executive management, having worked on numerous projects in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Europe helping clients be more successful. Neu was manager of the cost-reduction/productivity-improvement practice for a major international CPA and consulting firm, has been vice president of finance for a private university (as a consultant), and acted as vice president of distribution for an industry-leading manufacturing company. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.