Organization Through Systemization | Business Growth
Organization through systematization is the best way to achieve a less painful business growth. Notably, it eliminates the operational chaos caused by an exponential increase in non-conformance.
To be sure, business growth does not ensure prosperity, when the result is frustration and working longer hours by owners and managers.
Moreover, staying organized, sustaining that order, takes a systematic effort on the part of everyone in the business.
Most importantly, it takes a follow-up system! We call this system of follow-up, our “secret sauce” of organization thorough systemization! We developed our secret sauce "recipe" over a period of years, and named it, The System Buster Locator.
Systematizing a business ensures not only the proper and consistent use of business systems but the software used by the business, as well.
Systematizing the Company's Housekeeping
You can actually systematize the house cleaning of the business. It's more peaceful, working in a clean office, with no clutter. However, as the day progresses, and more work transpires, the order of things tends to slip. Before long, wastebaskets fill, and books, documents, pens, and other items get strewn around. Consequently, chaos takes over!
A merely organized office begins to break down! However, if you have a system for cleaning, then the office will remain clean and clutter-free throughout the day. We call our system of cleaning The 100% System of Cleanliness, or 5-S on steroids!
Systematizing the Company's Operational Processes
In like manner, as with the Company's housekeeping, mentioned above; without systems, operational processes will return to disorder. This is what is called entropy.
Example: Management decides to better-organize the inputting of information for on-boarding new customers; due to recurring errors in data-entry into their software. Because of these errors, important customer information and specifications are not reaching all departments, causing miscommunication, production and/or service errors.
Specifically, management develops a control checklist system — a form/document with all the necessary customer specification questions/prompts. This ensures the staff will now be prompted to ask for, OR take-in, critical customer information, and specifications. Let’s call this control system/document an In-take/On-boarding form.
Operations seem to improve and management believes they've finally organized that on-boarding process. They're hopeful it will continue to work going forward.
For a while, all seems to go well in that in-take department, and then surprisingly another mistake occurs on a customer's order. Frustrated, management realizes the In-take/On-boarding form they developed did not address all specifications, because something was overlooked. In fact, the control checklist form was missing a Question/Input field, to prompt someone to ask for that specification. In short, that one overlooked specification would have prevented the mistake from occurring.
Stay with me now, it may seem tedious, but it's important!
Management Makes the Ole 'Business as Usual' Decision
Management now knows the new In-take/On-boarding form they developed for taking client information isn’t perfect. However, like most average small businesses, management decides, "It's doable! Besides, we're too busy now, and revising that document now would be a hassle!" Fact is, management probably doesn't remember where the original document is located. Therefore, they say, "good, is good enough!"
Again, like the example of company housekeeping mentioned above, after a time, business processes begin breaking down. Then, sadly, employees stop using them altogether.
However, we have the answer — our "secret sauce" to prevent this return to chaos!
Organization by Memory or by Design
I’m sure you agree, businesses have various types of employees, ranging from the average to the very diligent employee.
To emphasize Organization through Systemization, let’s continue using the example of the In-take/On-boarding form. Remember the error that happened even after management developed the new form to stop errors? Well, it worked okay, but it wasn't perfect; yet management decided it was "doable."
With that in mind, there are two types of responses that occur when the average and the diligent employees find errors/non-conformance. Actually, this also applies to owners and managers.
The Average Employee | Usual Response
When an average employee discovers an error, like the one caused by missing information on In-take/On-boarding form, sadly nothing happens! In other words, they will not update/revise the form, nor suggest to management that they do that. Therefore, errors will continue to happen. Generally, these type of employees figure it's not their problem.
But, the process is still better than no process, right? Moreover, the average, usual response from management concerning errors is predictable. Management will call meetings and more meetings, to address errors and chaos. Hopefully, these meetings will ensure everyone’s on the same page; and remind average employees not to make those stupid mistakes again. And again, and again!
The Diligent Employee | UN-Usual Response
When the diligent employee discovers the error caused by missing information in the In-take/On-boarding form, they take a different tack. Amazingly, they locate and update the document to address the unknown specification that caused the error. Wow, that’s not “business as usual!”
Additionally, the diligent employee really wants to maintain order in the business. They want the company to improve and prosper. Whereby, this naturally-organized type employee keeps things in their head and seems to remember things that need to be done without using good systems. But, and this is a big but ...
What happens when these types of employees walk out the door? In fact, we know these diligent type employees are not easily found in competitive industries.
The point is: organization is not relying on a diligent employee’s memory or self-motivation. In fact, Organization through Systemization is not relying on memory at all — not even the owner’s memory!
Therefore, systems/documents must be designed with the average employee in mind.
Although it's nice to have diligent employees with great memories, mistakes and forgetting will still occur. To ensure updates of systems/documents, zero errors, and sustaining the process of continual improvement, there must be a system of follow-up.
Secret Sauce | System of Follow-Up for Sustaining
To be certain, customers will alert a business when an error occurs with their product or service.
With that in mind, let's just continue with the In-take/On-boarding form mentioned above. In a systemized company, when the error occurred, due to missing information, caused by a missing prompt on the control checklist, the error would have triggered a response. Therefore, when learning of the error, a “System Buster Locator/Corrective Action report" would be immediately submitted to management.
The System Buster/Corrective Action report would state what the error is, who made the error, and recommendations for correcting the error, to prevent it in the future, etc. The administrator of the System Buster/Corrective Action Report, along with his/her team, would then determine the “root cause."
Most importantly, the updating/revising of a system/document i.e. In-take/On-boarding form is done. Consequently, the updating of the document, in this case, was prompted by a system, not due to a diligent employee's memory.
The Difference between Organized and Systematized
You may be thinking, it’s just easier and faster to update a Word document and get back to work without all this System Buster/Corrective Action report stuff. I understand your reaction; and I agree, in 1-to-3 person business.
However, imagine a company growing to 10, 15, 25, 50, 100, or more, employees. Errors and chaos multiply exponentially, as employees are added to the business. Therefore, systems fail more and more often at an alarming rate.
You would think if you had five employees, and you doubled to 10, that mistakes and chaos would only double. But, that’s not the case, as those who have studied these factors have determined. Truth is, mistakes and chaos would multiply exponentially by three to four times, just by increasing from five to 10 employees. Now, imagine 25 or 100! We know this is true because it happened to us!
Growth Requires Organization Through Systematization
If your goal is to grow your company, begin to organize through systemization. For this reason, McDonald's, the hamburger giant, grew exponentially, due to their systems.
Every McDonald's franchisee operates with the same systems. It’s like rubber-stamping a franchisee; whereby, everyone is on the same page and can grow without all the chaos.
When one business location is totally systemized, it is simple to open a new location. In other words, a virtual rubber stamp of one location to a new location. Therefore, the new location and its employees hit the ground running on opening day!
That’s where System100 comes in! This is what we do best … what we can do for your business! System100 is, “The Organizer” via systematization.
Did I 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.