Knowing Your Operational Capacity:

Avoid Blowing Your Revenue Engine

Do you know exactly how much money your current operation can produce?  Over a 90 day period in 2009  I presented our “Tuning Your Revenue Engine” seminar to more than 100 business owners and professionals.  Less than a handful actual knew the maximum capacity of their business.  That is, exactly how much revenue their business can produce without adding additional assets to the operation.
I frequently discover this problem with small to medium sized businesses when they call wanting to increase sales.  When I ask “how much more sales do you want?” More often than I care to admit the answer is, “as much as you can get.”  Wrong answer!  This answer throws up a red flag for how well the rest of their business is running.
Not knowing how much more business you can handle is the kiss of death for your company.  Not being able to deliver on orders will put you out of business faster than having too few sales.
So how do you figure your maximum capacity?  It’s actual very simple.  First, determine how long it takes someone working around the clock to complete one unit of your service or product.  This is referred to as your cycle time.
Next, take the total number of available work hours and multiply this by the number of employees that complete work. Then divide this number by your cycle time.  The result is the maximum number of units your business could produce – your maximum capacity.  To determine the maximum revenue just multiply the maximum capacity by the average price per unit.
Let’s look at a quick example.  A service company with about $2.1 million in revenue wants to grow their revenue to $3.5.  Can they get there from here?   It takes a technician, of which they have 20, about 3 hours to provide their service to a customer.  So, in a typical day a technician can make 2 service calls or about 6 hours of billable time.  If you multiply this time 20 days in an average month there are 120 billable hours per month.  Here is their maximum calculation:
             __800___   =       120      X       20      ÷   ___3___
              Maximum     Total Available # of Ops       Hours to
              Capacity           Hours       Personnel     Produce 1 Unit
Now, let’s see what the maximum revenue is in this example.  The average price is $295.  This means their Maximum revenue is $236,000 per month or $2,832,000 annually.  We see in this example they cannot reach their goal of $3.5 million without adding operational capacity (more service techs).  That means a capital investment that they may not be able to make right now.  So, the owner may need to reassess their revenue goal.
The key here is you would know exactly how much you can sell before problems are created in operations and can set your sales objectives appropriately.  In a future posting we will look at the sales calculations to better understand what it will take within sales to produce the $2.8 million of capacity we have to sell.
This is not the only way to arrive at the conclusion we did here.  I would like to hear from you, the reader, to see how you make these kinds of decisions for your business.
About Dino Eliadis

Dino Eliadis has over 25 years experience in creating and leading high performance teams and organizations. His talents spans many different industries where he focuses on assisting small business owners to make measurable improvements in overall business performance thus increasing their “book value” by Tuning the Revenue Engine. The result: increased productivity and improved revenue growth, leading to maximized profits.


  1. [...] if you are not even at break even yet?  This tells me you have another issue either you don’t understand your capacity OR your pricing is way off to begin with.  It that is the case then fix these problems FIRST.  If [...]

  2. [...] Why is production capacity critical to revenue?  Because it tells you how much you have available to sell.  If you don’t know what your maximum capactiy is I recommend your read the blog post titled, Knowing Your Operational Capacity:  Avoid Blowing Your Revenue Engine. [...]

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  4. [...] a previous post titled Knowing Your Operational Capacity: Avoid Blowing Your Revenue Engine I went into much detail on this subject. If you’re not sure of your business capacity that post [...]

  5. [...] ago I wrote an article where I showed you how to calculate your company’s operational capacity.  This is a critical metric to understand before you build a sales plan.  If you don’t know how [...]

  6. [...] few posts back you learned a quick and easy way to calculate maximum capacity.  You saw how knowing your maximum capacity was important to sales as it told you how much you [...]

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