One morning several years ago, I was facilitating a Webinar demo of our business management software and the integration of an “Operations Manual” for an owner of a printing company and a group of his managers. It came as no surprise when one of the managers asked, “Why do we need your system to bring order to our business? We are many times the size of your company and very profitable. Besides, isn’t a certain amount of chaos to be expected in our industry?”
Before I could answer, the owner shot back at the manager, “We may be profitable, but I’m tired of the chaos;it’s very stressful. I’m the one who has to stay at the office, even when I’m sick, to make sure a large project gets done on time and without errors.”
The owner told us about his having run a 104° temperature at one point, yet he was unable to leave the building for fear the company would lose a great deal of money on a certain project. Sounded like, “If you think I’m just doing this for my health—you’re right!” He had now decided that making money isn’t the only thing in life and he was tired of missing out on events in his children’s lives.
The owner’s business had grown rapidly and had opportunities to expand further. However, the chaos was growing exponentially and his business had reached a point of diminishing returns when adding more growth.
I could really identify with this owner, as those things had happened to me before I learned the power of systems. I’ve heard many stories from other owners and managers expressing similar frustrations, over the past decade. I sometimes wonder why so many are willing to live with the pain year after year.
Understandably, the first thing many of those we do demos for want to know is the profit side of implementing systems such as Quality Control, Communications and Preventative Maintenance, etc. As far as I’m concerned, increased profit is a given when you: first, bring order to your business with written systems; and second, install a system of accountability that makes it all work!
Like this particular business owner, my prime motivation for implementing systems to run our business was not just profit. I also wanted PEACE in my life—the peace systems would bring to our employees and, most importantly, our customers.
I was certain if we reduced errors, eliminated bottlenecks and our equipment operated at peak performance, PEACE and PROFIT would come. What are the tools/systems to help ensure prosperity?
- Quality Control Checklists for every key process
- Daily Routine Checklists for all key personnel
- Policies that clearly leave nothing to interpretation
- Procedures for all key tasks
- Document Management
- Preventative Maintenance for all equipment
- Data Base Maintenance
- Communication and Reporting
* Internet & Intranet
* Email—External & Internal
* Request for Leave
* Suggestions for Improvement
* Repair Request
* Special Tasks
* Non-Conforming Events/System Busters (The key system to sustain all systems)
* Companywide and Department Calendars
* Scheduling of Work & Services
* Floor Data Collection
* Scheduling—Work & Services
* Requisition of tools and supplies
These systems need to be written and organized into an “Operations Manual” and, whenever possible, automated into online systems that are easily accessible to every member of the organization. Each member of the organization should practice and be an integral part of designing and improving these tools.
With them, YOU are in control of the business, instead of the BUSINESS controlling you.
PEACE and PROFIT—those are the two “Ps” in the P
erity that gives an owner the confidence to risk running a business every day—and the capital to retool and hire needed workers.
Did I mention—Great systems work!