Back in 1964 when the Stones first released “Time Is On My Side,” time was a nice thing to have. We used it freely and pretty much took it for granted. It was a nice way to live. We spent Sundays with family, and vacations were spent visiting relatives and staying in touch. In most cases, if something didn’t get done, it could probably wait until tomorrow. Please don’t misunderstand me I realize that things needed to be done and done on time. But there was less focus on time in general back then, and we all took more time to experience what we were doing.
Time itself is an interesting concept. The concept of time is not a new one. Man has studied, philosophized and even obsessed about it since time began. Webster’s definition is: The measured or measurable period during which an action, process or condition exists or continues. Throughout the years, man has tried to stop it, slow it and even travel it. But alas, time just marches on.
I recently had the good fortune to hear a member of the Federal Reserve Board speak in Chicago, and guess what he talked about? That’s right, time. It seems that since consumers drive the majority of our GDP here in the U.S., time is starting to play a significant role in our economy. People are trying to do so much in their daily routines that they’re running out of time on a daily basis. This is driven in part by a need to be more efficient and productive. U.S. workers are all under continual pressure to be more competitive, and getting more done in a specific time period is all part of it.
Twenty-five years ago, I was warned that this obsession would occur. During my career at Ford, I had the opportunity to view mountains of market and trending research. I remember one particular study that was talking about behaviors in the ’90s and on into the millennium. The study was memorable because it talked about how people in the future would be more focused on their time than on any other part of their lives. The study stated that, with dual incomes and increased productivity pressures, people would find themselves placing an increasingly greater emphasis on their time and how they spent it. It seemed odd to me back then that something like time of which there is an infinite amount could become so important. Of course, I was wrong.
What does this have to do with our business? Frankly, a lot. Think about your business today. What’s the most valuable inventory you have? It’s time. Production hours are more valuable and costly than ever. I used to think of time as an endless commodity, but in the service business, if you don’t account for or sell today’s hours, they’re gone for good. It’s more important than ever to be sure your production hours are as productive and efficient as possible. Otherwise, you’re leaving money on the table.
Let’s also take a look at time from your customer’s perspective. Remember, they’re just as squeezed for time as you, if not more. They’re juggling 50 things in their lives, and just like all of us, they’re depending on their cars to make it all work. If we miss a promise time or require them to return to our shops, we’ve just eaten up what may be the most valuable asset they have.
Some argue that time is more important than money, but for sure it’s on all of our minds and is an asset we need to pay attention to. Your customers are focused on it and so are your employees. I’m sure if you ask members of your household, they would say it’s pretty important there, too.
So during your day, take a moment and be sure you’re making the best use of your time...and being mindful of others’.