Overthinking Process Management
Overthinking process management is akin to spoiling the enjoyment of a simple neighborhood football game, by trying to incorporate complex NFL-level plays.
Yes, over-analyzing the science of business operations discourages small business owners from implementing effective BPM (Business Process Management).
Creating workflow processes is as simple as mapping your morning routine, getting ready for work or the day. For instance, waking up, making the bed, putting on the coffee, choosing your wardrobe, taking a shower, eating breakfast, attending the dog, kissing your spouse, and rushing out the door.
Your morning routine may be a bit more complex, but the steps are simple. Whereby, ANYONE can write a list of steps they follow to get ready for the day. And voila, a procedure!
Moreover, transforming this procedure into a quality checklist is as easy as putting a checkbox in front of each prompt.
A Quality Checklist is just a list of prompts, assuring consistent performance of a process, i.e., rendering a service, producing a product, on-boarding customers, cleaning a building, or getting ready to leave on an important business trip.
W. Edwards Deming, the quality guru, says, “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.” Truth is, any small business owner could sit down with their employees and create a procedure/checklist for every process that operates their business, from opening until closing!
Imagine the value of those documents, when completed! It’s your Operations Manual. This is the way to turnkey or franchise-ready a business.
Over-Analyzing the Process of Creating a Process
The president and staff of a nationally-known media business attended an all-day private seminar, hosted by yours truly. The seminar was a step-by-step, HOW-TO presentation of developing a comprehensive Operations Manual, along with a little Lean Management.
For example, we showed them — in real-time, with real people — how a Quality Manual works to reduce errors in any type of business, to less than 2% of gross sales. In addition, we demonstrated how Daily Routine Checklists work to keep employees accountable to perform the job duties for which they were hired.
We also, demonstrated Document Management of written policies, procedures, maintenance records, and countless other documents contained in our comprehensive operations manual. We answered all their questions, with actual walk-through, showing documentation for solving all non-conformance to workflow processes.
In addition, we explained to everyone present at our seminar, that EVERY small business owner KNOWS what’s wrong with their business, because the daily workflow errors and frustrations directly affect THEM. In fact, most owners know WHERE the problems are occurring.
During the seminar, we asked those present to share examples of a frustration with which they were dealing. Given that, together we would create a step-by-step list of prompts to solve an issue.
Armed with one or more frustration examples, I began asking a series of questions to obtain the reasons for the problem — the WHY’s. At that point, together we proceeded to suggest SIMPLE steps that would prompt error-free performance. I reminded them that documenting these steps IN WRITTEN FORM is KEY. And giving everyone in the company access to them.
Did I mention? Great systems are SIMPLE and they simply 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.