Tariffs and Budgets and Prices, oh my!

Dorothy, in the Wizard of Oz, dealt with challenging animals; unfortunately, we have even bigger challenges. How do we continue to grow our business, help our customers, and improve profitability while managing all these planned and unplanned expenses that may be out of our control? We may not be able to control these changes; however, we can influence these changes AND we can control HOW they impact our organization.

An example – 90% of forms received from the supplier were wrong. The team says, “That is beyond us, we can’t do anything about what is given to us”. Challenge – the current paradigms! The team went on to 1. Define what makes a supplier form accurate, 2. Create standardized work instructions and the a process for acceptance of supplier forms, 3. Mistake proof the form so that errors cannot occur, and 4. Use working with others skills to provide supplier coaching and constructive feedback. Did they improve the accuracy of supplier information? Of course, they did and dramatically!

You too can influence the impact of tariff and supplier price increases, budget decreases, and changes in customer requirements. OK, so how?

The simple answers: Raise prices! Sell more product and services!

The practical, working answer:

  1. Use the imposed changes to establish targets
  2. Relentlessly identify and remove wastes in all processes, products, and services with a  focus on value to the customer. Use continual improvement, problem-solving approaches and methods to challenge everything in and (what appears to be) out of your control. Challenge every component or step in a process – – Is it necessary? Does it add value? How do I get more value to  the customer sooner? With better quality?

Learning and using these problem-solving methods is worth it – See the table below that provides others’ success from influencing, challenging, and applying continual improvement methods.


“True courage is in facing danger when you are afraid…”  L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

This is a fantastic opportunity to show your customers, employees, and stakeholders that together you can overcome obstacles in and out of your control AND achieve results greater than historical norms and more than what is believed possible.