If you are like me, much of your work has become about managing relationships; contacts, leads, investors, inventors...my LinkedIn profile shows my experience is as widely varied as my connections.
Much of my work involves building bridges into technology for companies whose operations are outgrowing the limitations of programs like Excel. Don't say Access, Access is...well, we have all had to use it.
Every one of these companies struggles from the same problem, they don't have the capacity to meet their customer demand. In manufacturing, the market is a mess from the rapidly changing USD.
From purchasing to shipping, to sales and accounting everyone is hauling ass to keep up but things are breaking down. Emails send excel sheets, word docs and renderings...version control is paramount.
Observe the way this information moves through these departments. In essence every step is a transaction. A transaction where one user takes some information, adds value to it and passes it on to the next user.
Value added can be creative, computational, a decision, an observation.
Process development starts with people. The people you employ, the people you serve, the people you compete against and the people you partner with.
My job really comes down to 4 things; Purpose, People, Process & Technology.
Understanding the state of your processes in a company is a powerful thing. It allows you to look at your business from multiple perspectives. It can give you insights and open opportunities to experiment.
It's not just about strategy. Executing changes and managing your processes effectively unleashes the potential for your people to empower the business.
- Your staff gain a deeper understanding of their role in serving the client.
- Your clients get a consistent customer experience
- Your management can measure performance and make better decisions
Mapping your businesses processes allows you to assess your "value chain of custody". It may not be a simple task but there are some excellent tools out there that make it easy. (click here to access my process mapping cheatsheet)
Bad process hurt your business. They can hurt your customers, staff and reputation. And they most definitely cost you money. We call these bad processes "waste".
From my perspective there are 6 areas of waste that your business is most likely to be hurting. You may find others but these are by far the top ones. You could be a law firm trying to automate NDAs, a manufacturer trying to get onto cloud systems or a engineering firm managing projects.
I have seen these 6 areas of waste in all types of companies, from deep sea submarine startups to retail banking systems. Once you have clearly laid out how your organization functions you can start to innovate. Use each of the below 6 waste types as lenses to look at how your organization creates and exchanges value. What are you doing right? Where can you do better?
- Rework - doing it a second time
- Overproduction - wasting time doing extras that do not add value
- Processing - specifically inefficient processes (not a solution)
- Under-used human resources - lead janitor syndrome
- Motion - unnecessary movement or conveyance (physical or data)
- Waiting - these are big red flags. I.e. sales team waiting on engineering for a quote.
If you missed my Facebook LIVE lunch session covering the benefits and challenges of mapping your processes you can watch it here: