How Much Do Little Things Add Up To?

I’ve been told I’m a bit of nut with some of my observations.  I don’t think this one is so nutty.  The other day I had to go to both of my banks and deposit some cheques through their bank machines.  I noticed when I deposited into Bank #1′s machine a receipt was generated and spit out automatically (even though I didn’t ask for one) and the little roller thingy that grabs your money started operating as soon as I finished typing in the amount.

Then I went to Bank #2 and their bank machine prompted me if I wanted a receipt (which I said no) and they had a notification that prompted me to press continue when I had my deposits in the envelop and was ready.  The roller thingys started when I pressed continue.

So my observation is, how much operating cost does Bank #2 save in receipt paper as well as the process for refilling it?  Being a bank I will assume the process is heavy and costly to refill the receipt paper container in the machine.  I wonder how much Bank #2 saves over Bank #1 every year by saving paper and process in re-filling the machine.  How much extra power do those little roller thingys use on a yearly basis for Bank #1?

Many companies I’ve worked with as a consultant and regular ol’ employee have a hard time grasping the concept of constant improvement in small increments.  I’m usually met with “It’s useless to not do the whole thing…” type of mentality.  Companies that really get it know how to have Kaizen events and understand taking on small and incremental improvements yields great results over time.  The flip side is the perception of progress instead of actual progress because so many (and usually large) improvements are talked about which makes people feel good.

How do you approach improvements in your organization?