The basic principle for production is that there is a certain process for getting something done. Sometimes a couple of easily identifiable steps, sometimes delivering a product requires taking thousands of small steps.

Each step should be adding value to the product. On the other hand: each step is also adding complexity to the process. Things could go wrong, especially if things should be done by hand.

In the book High output management, Andy Grove talks about work simplification. This is nothing more than taking a good look at the steps required to see if it is possible to reduce their number and with that simplifying the process. Sometimes this is easy, but sometimes you have to be a bit ruthless and give up flexibility for some parts.

Grove ends the book with a list of assignments. One of them: take a good look at your most tedious and time-consuming task. Take away at least 30% of the total number of steps involved.

Obviously, this assignment is really useful for a single task. It is also a great reminder to keep looking out for opportunities to simplify our processes and our work.