#096: LEANing into Business Operations to Add Value with Andrea Jones

Andrea Jones

Our Guest Mentor:

Andrea Jones is VP Business Operations at Crosby Hop Farm, a leading grower, merchant, and processor of pelletised hops to the craft brewing industry. Andrea is also founder of Andrea Jones Consulting (AJC) whose staff have are experienced professionals with expertise in Project Management and Process Improvement to help companies increase revenue.

Andrea holds an MBA from MIT Sloan Business School as well as an MSc in Chemistry. Andrea is based out of Portland, Oregon, USA.

Key Quotes From the Episode:

“[On what Lean really means] I think Lean has become a four letter word in many organisations as soon as the floor hears that you’re going lean they’re all worried that their jobs are going to get cut and that really decreases morale and motivation and if you look back to the original definition of lean from Womack and Jones in the 80s it was really focussed on the customer.” [04:33]

 “[On the original definition of lean] It was how do you provide the value that the customer is willing to pay for with the minimum amount of … waste in the system, but again if focusses on what the customer wants and what the customer is willing to pay for and that is really revenue based, so we all need to take a step back and look at lean in its pure form which is really customer and revenue focussed.” [04:57]

“[On where Finance can add more value to Ops] I’d love Finance professionals to be more proactive and it they understand how operations is being run, what equipment, and manpower, capacity and utilisation is being used to drive that production then they can make more informed recommendations to that team.” [12:20]

“[On properly assessing Opportunity Cost of Investing] If we don’t put in something that allows us to scale, or grow or have a foundation for new customer facing items how will we do it? Because that picture can often be somewhat ugly and rather than saying here’s how it’s going to cost to do this thing here’s how much it’s going to cost if we don’t do this thing.” [22:08]

“[On the big people responsibility that Finance must take seriously] In Finance they have complete visibility to all of the money going into and out of the business, and have to be stewards for the whole business, there are people whose lives depend on the job they have for the business and that is a big responsibility that can’t be taken lightly … and Finance need to look into the future to preserve that way of life for all of the employees.” [23:48]

“[On best bit of advice] The language of business is money and if you can’t speak conversantly with that language you’re not going to be able to move up in an organisation, and others don’t know that language super well so how can we bridge that gap.” [24:48]

 (Other resources and how to connect with Andrea below).

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Key Points From the Episode:

  • Andrea highlights the important distinction behind what lean really means and why it is more a revenue & customer focus than simply cost.
  • A massive opportunity for Finance to easily help the business that we take for granted.
  • How can Finance better support operations.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

[02:53] – Andrea shares her journey and she went from engineering to consulting with organisations on optimising growth and revenue growth and now to leading business operations.

[04:32] – Andrea highlights the important distinction behind what lean really means and why it is more a revenue & customer focus than simply cost.

[05:40] – Steps we can take to put the customer (and value) first giving an example of putting in a customer portal on balancing revenue and cost as well as Ops role working with Finance & Sales.

[10:12] – How can Finance better support operations and shares a successful example of this.

[14:50] – Andrea shares an example of where Finance could look first to seek to understand with Ops so they can figure out the implications of potential recommendations.

[18:43] – The areas exciting Andrea most about her current work.

[20:15] – How to get Finance involved to solve bottlenecks, increase production without adding or subtracting staff by properly considering the cost of not doing things.

[24:30] – The best bit of advice Andrea received from her MIT Sloan professor, which is also a massive opportunity for Finance to easily help the business that we easily take for granted.

[26:16] – The book Andrea recommends.

[28:05] – How best to connect with Andrea.

[28:53] – Some parting thoughts from Andrea.

Resources Mentioned:

Connect with today’s guest:

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