Sticky Systems Bringing Sustainable Order to Your Business
One morning several years ago I was facilitating a Webinar demo of our business management software, and the integration of an Operations Manual, for an owner of a printing company and a group of his managers.  Not to my surprise, one of the managers asked, “Why do we need your system to bring order to our business; we are many times the size of your company, and very profitable—besides, isn’t a certain amount of chaos to be expected in our industry?”

Before I could answer, the owner shot back at the manager, “We may be profitable, but I’m tired of the chaos…it’s very stressful.  I'm the one who has to stay at the office, even when I'm sick, to make sure a large project gets done on time and without errors.”  He told us about his having run a 104° temperature at one point—how he was unable to leave the building for fear they would lose a great deal of money on a certain project.  Sounded like, “If you think I’m just doing this for my health—you’re right!”  He had decided that making money isn't the only thing in life; he was missing out on events in his children lives.

The owner’s business had grown rapidly, and had other opportunities to expand further; however, the chaos was growing exponentially, and his business had reached a point of diminishing returns, when adding more growth.

I could really identify with this owner, as these things had happened to me before I learned the power of systems. I’ve heard many stories from other owners and managers with similar frustrations, over the past decade. I sometimes wonder why so many want to live with the pain year after year.

Understandably, the first thing many of those we demo want to know is:  the profit side of implementing systems such as Quality Control, Communications and Preventative Maintenance etc. As far as I'm concerned, increased profit is a given when you first bring order to your business with written systems—and second, install a system of accountability that makes it all work!

Like this particular business owner, my prime motivation for implementing systems to run our business was not just profit. I also wanted PEACE in my life—the peace it would bring to our employees and, most importantly, our customers.

I was certain if we reduced errors, eliminated bottlenecks, and our equipment operated at peak performance, PEACE and PROFIT would come.

What are the tools/systems to help insure prosperity?

  • Quality Control Checklists for every key process
  • Daily Routine Checklists for all key personnel
  • Policies that clearly leave nothing to interpretation
  • Procedures for all key tasks
  • Document Management
  • Preventative Maintenance for all equipment
  • Data Base Maintenance
  • Inventory
  • Accounting
  • Communication and Reporting
  • Internet & Intranet
  • —Email—External & Internal
  • Request for Leave
  • Suggestions for Improvement
  • Repair Request Special Tasks
  • Non-Conforming Events/System Busters (The key system to sustain all systems)
  • Companywide and Department Calendars
  • Scheduling of Work & Services
  • Floor Data Collection
  • Scheduling—Work & Services
  • Requisition of tools and supplies
These systems need to be written and organized into an Operations Manual and, whenever possible, automated into online systems, easily accessible to every member of the organization. Each member of the organization should practice and be an integral part of designing and improving these tools.

With them, YOU are in control of the business, instead of the business controlling you.

PEACE and PROFIT—these are the two ‘P’s in ProsPerity that gives an owner the confidence to risk running a business every day—and the capital to retool and hire needed workers.

Did I mention—Great Systems Work?