When I am asked to help an organization recover from a place of low productivity, poor customer satisfaction, high costs or falling profitability, there is one thing I almost always find… the lack of replicable structures and processes.
And I see this is all sized businesses, however most often on small/medium sized enterprises.
When a business does not have a replicable structure that will allow the business to scale and support continued growth, employee engagement, customer satisfaction, cost containment and ultimately profitability, some of the stress points that I see are:
And sometimes, I will see all eight of the above happening.
Building a replicable way of doing things will set you free.
I liken it to a pro sports team coach that trains his or her team on a ‘system’ that sets the foundation for what the players should do in certain situations. When the game starts, the coach can’t stop everything and run out onto the field and direct play, it is the system that allows players to execute and adapt to any changes that the competition throws at them.
One business example that sticks out in my mind is a business I worked on where Technicians were responsible for installing I.T. equipment on customer premises. We were getting wildly different results from Technicians on installs, from one to 13 hours for the same type of job. When we dug into the end-to-end processes, there was no standardized way of doing things, and people were navigating some 55 steps from customer contact to billing. We were able to design, document and train Technicians on a new standardized way of doing an install and the average install time came down to 1.5 hours. This simple approach basically saved the business from going bankrupt.
How do you make sure your ‘team’ has a system to follow? The place to start is pulling together a cross-functional group and doing a ‘Process Audit.’ This involves, for example, looking at a customer order and mapping out the individual steps along the way from first contact to billing and everything in-between. This can be tedious, however it offers an opportunity to simplify and align everyone in the business around each step and ensure there is responsibility identified for each step.
Tags: Business Growth, Planning Process, Robert Murray, Robert S. Murray, Systems