How Long Will You Hesitate Between Two Opinions?
After reading a popular book on systematic organization for small businesses, in the 1990s, I came face-to-face with a dilemma. How long was I going to hesitate between two opinions?
On one hand, many business friends and associates told me that systematic organization was only for LARGE businesses.
And, as a small business owner, I should “expect and accept chaos as normal.”
On the other hand, the book explained that ANY small business could systematize operations to END disorder. In addition, freeing up an owner’s time to grow their business and, at the same time, giving great quality service to customers.
What was my decision?
Frankly, before finishing reading the book, my excitement level was a TEN!
Although Gerber’s book didn’t give step-by-step as to HOW to develop systems, it did show how systems work effortlessly behind the scenes.
I knew without a doubt, systems were the answer for our business!
So, catching the vision of small business systematization, MY DECISION was to move full steam ahead. And I would never turn back.
No longer would I procrastinate or hesitate between two opinions.
With much anticipation and excitement, we started the very next day FIXING and CLEANING up the messes in our business.
Make no mistake, the FIXING must be done systematically! Otherwise, operations will go right back to the way you’ve always done it. Back to the old hit-or-miss operations.
Where Did We Start?
In the same manner as you would fix a leaky boat with numerous holes, we attacked our biggest hole first.
It was obvious, due to dumb mistakes we were making a lot of errors in production. Therefore, we set about developing a Quality Control Checklist for our machine operators to follow.
Surprisingly, just this ONE system arrested most of our potential errors before spoiling an entire job or service. The reason is, the checklist helped identify mistakes made upstream at other workstations.
Consequently, after identifying all process potential errors, we implemented checklists at all workstations in our process stream. A systematic elimination of errors, permanently.
Not surprisingly, we reduced errors to a phenomenal low rate — 70% reduction in errors.
To be sure, this total transformation was one of continual improvement. Therefore, we just kept getting better.
System of Cleanliness – Lean Management on Steroids
The next important step in bringing our business to order was cleaning up the clutter in every area of our business. This included every office, workstation, warehouse, break room, workout room, desk, and storage cabinet, etc.
We called this system, The 100% System of Cleanliness. For additional information, we detail how to develop and implement this system, along with many others, in our book.
Yep, we wrote our own book on how to fix the messes in a business. But only after we PROVED these systems worked by documenting every non-conforming event in our business.
More importantly, we posted the results of our continual improvement achievements every month for years. We even made a video to demonstrate our cleanliness system.
Did mention? Great systems WORK!
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.