An excerpt from the e-book, “Moving From Chaos to Growth: The 7 Elements that Fuel Fast-Track Expansion and Profitability.”
This blog series examines the 7 elements that fuel fast-track expansion and profitability, each of which is absolutely necessary in today’s competitive and evolving business landscape. When thoughtfully designed and faithfully implemented, these 7 elements allow a business owner to set the long-term vision of the business, define roles and responsibilities throughout the ranks and as a result, practically enable the business to operate by itself.
In this blog, we examine the third element: Processes.
“If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.” ~ W. EDWARDS DEMING
Process is all about the way that work gets done—how materials and products move through the enterprise, and how value is added at every step along the way. For example, consider an otherwise simple steel beam in a steel mill. That mill purchases the raw materials to manufacture the steel. When those arrive, they are transported to the warehouse, and as that occurs, they are added into the mill’s electronic inventory database for subsequent consumption. Next, they are mixed together and processed to form steel. From there, that steel is forged into an I-beam, and then that I-beam itself is inventoried for eventual sale. Every piece of the process is a necessary, well-designed and efficient step that transforms raw materials into I-beams and eventually brings them closer to market.
The challenge with process is rarely within a discrete process itself. Things break down when passing from one process to another, one group to another or one individual to another. To get the benefit of efficient processes, each one must be designed with a greater understanding of how it fits into the overall process scheme of the organization.
You will know you have process issues when:
- Costs begin to rise
- Product shipments or service offerings are getting delayed
- Customer satisfaction is in decline
- No one knows who is responsible for what
- Inventory begins to pile up
To develop solid processes, your business should encourage stakeholders to design and refine them collaboratively. This includes optimizing necessary processes, and eliminating processes that don’t add tangible value. Sound processes are systemized, repeatable, integrated, scalable and geared toward achieving a defined, quantifiable end result.