Process Improvement

There is nothing so useless…as doing efficiently what should not be done at all.”

I spend a good bit of time in my practice working with businesses on their business planning and people development initiatives. A number of these clients have also invested their time in what is likely the least appreciated part of achieving sustainable success in business ~ process improvement! Peter Drucker’s quote above is a reminder to all business leaders, regardless of size of business, industry or profit status, that everything we do is a process and we should well be aware of whether we are doing the right things well versus just doing anything well.

All successful organizations use the same basic processes regardless of whether they sell services, products or both. Their core processes are the ones that directly influence revenue acquisition and the supporting processes are those that have an indirect influence on revenue acquisition. These supporting processes included functions such as Human Resources, Information Technology, Research & Development and General Administration to name a few. Let’s focus on the five Core Processes that all businesses use and see how they impact your business:

  1. Supply Chain Management ~ all processes associated with the inbound logistics of the business such as materials, inventory and consumables associated with the input to your business operations. How are you measuring the quality of what comes into your business?

  2. Operations ~ all processes associated with converting the inputs from the supply chain processes into creating the products and services the business provides. How do you know you are producing the quality expected by your customers?

  3. Distribution ~ all processes associated with the distribution of your products and/or services to the buyers. If the buyer is not the end user, how well is your product or service being received by the end-user?

  4. Sales and Marketing ~ all processes associated with the advertising, promotion and sale of your products and/or services. How well is your brand known in the market and how profitable is your sales process?

  5. Customer Service ~ all processes associated with providing service and ongoing assistance and support of your products and/or services to buyers. What is the overall experience of your buyers and how do you know?

Whenever we work with a growing business, we look specifically at these five core processes in the context of the client’s business model and growth plan. This is especially true with small businesses or non-profits who may not have these processes in place to begin with. In all cases, when we addressed these five core processes by creating and documenting how they should work, the growth of the business was much easier to manage and scale.

Process improvement is not just for bigger businesses with lots of resources to manage how they run their business. Poor processes can derail even the best business plan and ruin even the best people if not given the structure to succeed!

What is your business doing well that it shouldn’t be doing at all and how do you know?