Posted on 17/02/2015, 10:20
Effective business systems and processes provide a number of benefits to the business, its customers and staff. However there is also an investment of time, effort and probably money required – so are the benefits to you and your business worth the effort? Here are nine benefits to consider.
Having a system that everyone sticks to means that the same task is being done in the same way each time. A consistent process is likely to give consistent results. If you can develop the system to give the right quality of output then you can provide consistent quality in your product or service, it could also be at consistent cost and hence at a consistent profit.
Writing down a process or embedding a system gives all staff that use the system a greater degree of clarity about what is expected, what they need to do and what the required output is. If everyone is clear on each step then there should be less requirement for supervision and queries, releasing the manager to do other tasks.
Any business that wants to grow needs to be sure that all the necessary building blocks are in place, which means that key activities need to be scalable and replicable. Having one person doing a task in their own way is not scalable, but converting this into a system or process with steps that can be repeated by others gives the business the option to scale up. Developing replicable, scalable systems creates an asset which will be valuable when it comes to selling the business or expanding it, through a franchise for example.
Induction and Training
Having a documented system makes it much easier to train and induct new staff into your business. It makes it clear what is expected of them and they don’t need to remember everything first time as they can always refer to the system manual.
A system or process is made up of a number of steps in a certain order. Over time practical experience, new situations and changes in the environment such as technological developments mean that the system needs developing if it is to remain effective. Having a clear system makes it easier to review which step or steps need changing or updating. Over time systems can be improved and refined making some steps quicker, simpler or cheaper. The learning from the practical experience of one person can be embedded in the system to benefit all users for the future.
More effective people
Typically those activities that can most easily be embedded in a system are repetitive and routine. Developing a system for these means that fewer staff need to spend less time on them, or the process can even be automated. This frees up staff to do more interesting and value-added activities which are non-routine or higher level. Systems also enable people to achieve much more than they could alone, making them more efficient and effective.
Reviewing and documenting systems gives the opportunity to take a step back and look objectively at the process, particularly when it is written down in steps or set out as a flowchart. It also gives the opportunity to look at other systems in the organisation and identify areas where they can be streamlined, merged or steps removed which are now redundant.
The discipline of developing a system makes you focus on what the main purpose or outcome of the system is supposed to be. It is only when you are clear on what the specific outputs need to be that you can design a system to achieve that. Effective business systems have clear well-defined outputs and are constructed just to deliver those.
Effective systems give the business owner confidence and assurance that things are going as expected and planned. They provide a way of controlling the key aspects of the business. Instead of managing and controlling every activity it is just the systems that need to be monitored and reviewed.
Developing effective business systems can enable business owners to turn their skills and good ideas into a well-controlled business with consistent quality that is replicable and scalable, making the work itself more interesting for the team and, most importantly, meeting the needs of the customer profitably each time.
Business Improvement Specialist
Andy Turnbull works with businesses in Surrey to develop and grow. Originally an accountant by profession, he has plenty of experience of developing clear and effective systems. Andy has been a finance director and non-executive director of national and international organisations. He is a member of the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs and a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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