How Does Your Garden Grow?
SME’s are an organic, breathing business whose cultivation often leads to a mess of tangled roots, unruly foliage, forgotten plant pots and the occasional wild flower struggling to break free. In the beginning, when you planted that little seed of an idea and nurtured it, watered it with tears of frustration and the sweat from your brow, you had the whole garden plotted out in neat little rows and a grand vision to rival the Kew Botanical. Now, after years of hard work you step back and realise you’re not looking at a horticultural masterpiece so much as a jungle.
You need a gardener. And that’s us.
Process improvement is all about delving deep into the hedgerows and re-learning, from the ground up, how your business works, where it’s not working, why it’s not working and then visualising how it can be improved.
As your gardeners, we will help get your hands in the soil once more and discover why Greg from Sales does things a different way, why no one bothers with that manual from 5 years ago, why people always roll their eyes when using a certain program and why no one knows where to find the log books since someone left. It’s a lot like weeding, removing those things which had a strangle-hold on your team’s efficiency and getting the sun to those good ideas just waiting to flower. Working together we can get you back to the neat little rows you’ve always wanted, provide detailed plans so everything grows that’s meant to and everyone knows where to go and how to do it. Process improvement can have your business thriving, growing and reaping a healthy harvest in no time.
So how can we get you there?
Simply put - we talk to your people. And not just those who sit at the Director’s table, we talk to the owners, users and victims of your processes all across the business. Talking to lots of different people in different areas helps us to gather as many perceptions as possible to get a truer reflection and eliminate bias. From there we can map out these processes, show the route they take and how they interact with other processes.
Our conversational approach means we identify the real hang-ups in your processes, including things like duplications, inefficiencies, sources of error, pain points, gaps, conflicts, waste (of time, money and/or resources) and general malaise. All the things that get in the way of a successful, smooth operation. You’ve now got a picture of the actual processes in your business, with all their foibles and tangles, which needs going over with a critical eye. This often goes hand-in-hand with a conversation about your IT systems and software and how these can potentially serve your improved processes.
You should now be able to see, emerging from the mist, the potential outline of your new, improved processes. Before you go racing to the horizon though, first we need to check out the potential software available to help you get there. You might have started this journey in order to get the most out of your existing IT solutions only to find that, once your actual processes are mapped, they cannot be integrated without a good deal of compromise. Or you might discover a different piece of kit that does exactly what you want. Either way, we can help you see what can be moved, changed, removed, added or integrated in order to achieve your goal.
Once you’re settled on the right IT systems to support your process changes, you need a Project Plan that can explain the upheaval, the reasons behind it, and the expected benefits to your people. They need to be engaged and supporting the changes or you’ll end up right back at square one with Greg from Sales just doing it whatever way he feels works for him. The Plan also needs to reflect the actual process of change: when will the new systems kick in? what training needs to be given? what new processes will be in place? etc and, crucially, who will map those new processes in a new document for posterity? Our consultants will take as much, or as little, of this burden from you as you need. We can draw up the Project Plan, help with engagement, create the new process map and give advice at every stage.
But Process Improvement doesn’t have to rip the whole garden up in one go, it can be a quieter, continual process of improvement. We can engage in a longer-term relationship alongside some of our other services (like Auditing) to identify areas of improvements before they grow into bigger problems. This might be an excellent way of ensuring if you HAVE ripped the entire garden up, that you don’t have to do it all again in 5 years time because no one has done any weeding since. It’s a fast paced, changing world out there and, if you leave your systems and processes static, you can be sure the jungle will encroach on your land again with alarming speed.
- Talk to your people.
- Map existing processes.
- Identify pain points.
- Discuss IT options.
- Define objectives.
- Specify technical changes.
- Create Project Plan.
- Provide project management.
- Create new process maps.
- Maintain process maps.
- Regular reviews/audits.
- Analyse process data.
- Flag and facilitate improvements.
- Large network of managed consultants.
- We’re an SME, too, we know what it’s like!
- Industry-specific, technical know-how, business intelligence.
- Scalable project management services.
- Toolbox like a Tardis.
- ISO 9001 certified.
Speak with a QFactorial expert