To produce consistent and predictable quality outcomes you need effective systems in place in your business. Having effective systems in place also streamlines day-to-day operational activities and makes it easier to manage these activities, allowing managers time to deal with exceptions and to work on business development.
What is a system?
A system is basically a set of rules for processing information and facilitating decisions.
Another major benefit of developing and documenting systems and procedures is to help to personality-proof your business. It reduces the level of dependence on particular individuals by downloading their knowledge and documenting it so that the knowledge can be shared with other staff and become corporate knowledge rather than individual knowledge.
What happens when your business systems are lacking or ineffective?
- Customers are dissatisfied due to unpredictable levels of service and quality.
- Staff are often frustrated and demotivated because every task becomes a unique challenge rather than an established process with known outcomes.
- Low productivity: without documented, effective and up-to-date systems, new employees must rely heavily on experienced staff for guidance even for the most basic of tasks resulting in low productivity for both new staff members and for those training and supporting them.
What are the characteristics of effective systems?
- They are documented.
- There is some level of automation in data capture and processing information.
- They are not reliant on individual knowledge.
- They operate in a predictable and timely manner.
- They provide guidance in routine decision making.
- They improve efficiency and reduce costs.
- They accommodate the ability to measure performance.
If you don’t have systems in place in your business now, where do you start?
First establish a clear picture of the required outcomes, assess the current position, and then develop the logical, step-by-step processes required to consistently achieve the outcomes required. Incorporating input from people at the coal face who work with the processes on a day-to-day basis is essential to develop and refine these systems. They are the ones who are implementing the systems and generally know what works well and what causes frustration.
It is also important that systems adhere to relevant Quality Assurance and Workplace Health & Safety standards.
It is not too late to start developing effective systems for your business and to see predictable and consistent quality results.