By Glacial Wood / March 15, 2016

Make Your 20 Smarter – The Pareto Principle

How much time you spend with the “big picture” compared to the amount of time that you focus on “the small details”? As a designer, you have a lot of moving parts to pull together and, in every single situation, you want the final outcome to please or exceed the goals of the client. Yet, you can’t get to that point unless you spend some time on the detail work, even if you feel like you are accomplishing more on the bigger projects.


A good principle in most businesses is to focus on the Pareto Principle. It does not even matter the industry you are in. This is perhaps one of the most important concepts to learn and apply.

In short, this theory, created by Vilfredo Pareto, an economist, focuses on input and output and its relationship. The principle states that 20 percent of the invested inputs is responsible for 80 percent of the results obtained. Another way to see this is that 80 percent of the outcome or consequence comes from 20 percent of the causes.


When applied to manufacturing or even industrial design, a better representative of this principle may be in the details. In other words, the vital few and the trivial many should be considered. That means that, 80 percent of the results are driven and created by 20 percent of the effort you put in. So, the question is, where are you putting that most important 20 percent within your business? Is that 20 percent really operating at the most efficient and “smarter” level for you?


Keeping the Pareto Principle in mind, consider who is behind that 20 percent. Are you really putting the right people there, the right vendors, and the right professionals? If you put more energy into improving the quality of your 20 percent, could you not achieve a better outcome on every project then?

Whatever that 20 percent is ultimately defines the success of your business or the project. Here’s a simple recommendation that many of our commercial interior designers are seeing. If you invest in a vendor like Glacial Wood that offers a much higher quality finished product than the factory-made, massive built product, your bottom line improves.

For example, Glacial Wood focuses on using a lean manufacturing principle. We use high quality materials and lean principles to craft unique items. We can produce a high quality while also meeting high demand needs. If your business put more time into working with a vendor like Glacial Wood, the outcome of your project is that much better. Glacial Wood’s “detail” work for you really stands out. This is what your client is looking for (perfection in the details) to determine if a project is a success or not.


On the other hand, if you allow these details to be in the hands of mass produced items there’s nothing unique, nothing special, and no detail present. Your customer gets the job completed, but it’s lacking in the details. And, that hurts you in the long term because you are missing out on the next project from that client.

Apply the Pareto Principle to your current business. Does it work in your industry? Consider how much the final outcome of any project is influenced by those details. When the details matter, you need to reach out to third party manufacturers that can deliver at a higher quality and provide you with a smarter outcome. Glacial Wood knows it can provide you with the high quality, perhaps best materials out there. This leads to an improved final project for you, an impressed client, and a smarter 20 percent every time.


We can help you find the best pricing options for your custom project.