Strict Systems vs. ‘Big Brother’ – Part I

There’s a common theme to the arguments I often hear in opposition to the value of imposing strict systems for operating a business. They typically are along these lines:

  • “It takes the humanness out of the job.”
  • “It sounds like Big Brother.”
  • “It might not be good for employee morale.”

During my own quest to systemize our company, I have to admit there were times I would get the same feeling—the key word here is “feeling.” What I know about feelings is, they are rarely an indicator of the real truth of a matter.

Until I started getting REAL data on how our systems were affecting our business and our employees, I too ran my business on feelings. I heard from my employees all the time about how they felt about this or that; often changing courses based on their feelings.

Many years ago, one of our most technically talented employees “felt sure” our company did NOT need the Quality Control System I was implementing, preferring to rely solely on his experience and talents. I must confess, I had no real data at that time to challenge his feelings.

Thank God, however, that MY feelings changed as we continued to with the implementation and fought the good fight, trying to reduce waste and the chaos it was creating in our business.

So, I started measuring those “feelings” against real, cold, hard and unbiased DATA.

Story time…

When our first version of System100™ came out, I was meeting with our production administrator (let’s call him Bob) about one of the systems we were beta testing. This particular system measured the number of errors and the cost and time lost by an employee for any given period.

Before developing our software, our company’s method for measuring errors and waste had been a manual system. It took a lot of time to pull reports, as this had to be done by hand using a calculator and the findings put into a spread sheet.

Philip Beyer, founder/president of Beyer Printing and Ebiz Products LLC in Nashville, TN, is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant, author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business," and an InterTech Award recipient for the design and development of System100™ business process management software. Philip speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses.
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