Process: the S.I. Unit of Business
Updated: Feb 14, 2020
The standard unit of a business/company is its Process. Once a business sufficiently gets the process right, then it will achieve a reliable foundation for itself... and it would take a lot to bring such a company down. As a result, smart companies (also called Learning Organisations) focus on capturing their processes and improving them.
A process is a combination of activities, decisions, triggers and dependencies that achieve a planned result. For a business to be successful, there needs to be a high level of uniformity, control and performance metrics. You have to micro-manage the activities and decisions (not people) that are involved in a process, to allow less variations and more predictability.
Why Is Understanding your Process Important?
I will explain with this illustration:
XYZ company came to me with a complaint. Their customers were upset because it took almost a week for them to Register for their services. I noted that XYZ lacked the adequate amount of staff necessary to process registrations, as their staff were leaving due to the exhausting nature of the work. (For now, let us ignore the amount of mistakes that occur during the Registration Process). The point was, the company was losing money!!!
My first recommendation was to look at the lowest level of the company (the process), and within a month of investigation, I drafted the below, to give a visual representation of their process.
Upon conclusion of the investigation, a few things worthy of note came up.
The company operates a Human-intensive process. How do I know this? All the squares are representation of the humans who carry out those tasks. Now we know why the staff are leaving; not only do the staff have to learn to use two different systems that don’t interact, they also execute mundane tasks.
Why are the customers upset? Let’s see: The total amount of time it takes for a staff to start and finish 1 (ONE, UNO, UN, OFU) registration is roughly 12 mins (for their fastest staff) with NO INTERRUPTION (meaning that there is high possibility that this would take up to 20 mins per registration). If there are 20 registrations per day, it would take 4 hours to write them into the Customer Portal. The customers in turn, get dissatisfied as they have to wait 4-8 hours to use the services, as such, they give a rating of 1-star which scares prospective customers away.
What about the CEO, why isn’t XYZ making money? The company has a problem where it NOT ONLY loses money, it DOES NOT make any, as a result of this process. The amount of time spent on this process is a WASTE, because such tasks can be done by a computer in 1 second. So, in a situation where you pay your staff £10 per hour, they are essentially wasting £40 (out of the £75 paid to staff daily); £10,400 per year wasted.
Process Knowledge allows you to understand the nitty-gritty of your process. With understanding comes knowledge. Be on the look-out for the post where I cleaned up the above process ;)
Is your process human-intensive? The only way you can know this is by having it mapped out by a professional.
Give us a call for a quote, if you would like a speedy solution to your process needs.