5 Steps For Effective Business Systems

Sandra Graham December 12, 2018
(Photo credit: Unsplash, Sergio Souza)

Modifying, improving and refining your systems is an essential practice in keeping your business running smoothly.
If you’re finding that your business systems aren’t operating as well as they used to, it’s time to refine them. Perhaps you’ve grown considerably in the last year, or hired new staff. In the early stages, you may have picked robust or overcomplicated business tools that are above and beyond what you need to get started. Sounding familiar?
The define, measure, analyze, improve, control (DMAIC) process can help improve your current systems., DMAIC follows a simple, 5-step process that most businesses can implement on their own. Let’s get started:

STEP 1 | DEFINE the Problem

In this step, define the problem you’re trying to solve. Are you struggling to manage employee time-off requests? Perhaps you’re finding you have lots of new customers each month, but little to no long-term customers.

STEP 2 | MEASURE performance

In this step, you want to gather all your available data to determine how your system is currently performing. Take the time to map out your current process. This allows you to clearly see the steps that you and your staff execute to achieve your business goals. Are they redundant? Confusing? Unclear? Have you missed a critical step? Is it unclear who’s accountable for each step?

STEP 3 | ANALYZE performance to determine where the problem may exist

In this step you want to review your data. You might find that most of your staff are submitting the time-off requests via email, instead of through your employee tracking software. Maybe you realize that many of your customer complaints are associated with one employee.

STEP 4 | IMPROVE your performance by addressing the problem

Now you want to determine possible solutions. Consider the costs for each solution. How complicated are these solutions? Will the effort required to implement them outweigh the benefit?
Once you’ve selected your solution, start by testing it out. Continue to tweak and refine the solution until you’ve achieved the results you’re looking for.

STEP 5 | CONTROL future performance

In this step you want to standardize your new process. Ask yourself what additional tools can be put in place to sustain the improvements you’ve made. Finally, establish how you will continue to monitor business performance.
Modifying, improving and refining your business systems doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Focusing on one problem at a time helps keep things simple. If you run into more complex problems, ones that I find are commonly associated with revenue and supply chain issues, I recommend connecting with a professional. Their expertise can help clearly identify where the root causes of these issues lie.

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