How bad must things get before you act? How many organizations actually know the true dollar cost of dysfunction?
It never ceases to amaze me when I hear “we don’t have time for that” as it relates to fixing processes. There is no time to fix it so it only needs to be done once (correctly) going forward – but there is plenty of time to keep doing it wrong multiple times and still not get it right!
If your average time to fill a position is 6 months, does that motivate you to change or fix the process? How long will you hobble along with no sales pipeline visibility because everybody utilizes offline/personal CRM systems? Why do you allow your accounting department to become “spreadsheet heaven” when the ERP system has the capability to perform those same functions automatically, timely and more accurately? In other words, when will you get “sick and tired of being sick and tired”?
Business owners - I know how often others come along and poke holes in what you are doing. It gets doubly irritating when it comes from people who have never attempted it themselves. Most adults dream of owning their own business – but few take the leap of faith and do it. Business owners are worried about EVERYTHING and improving broken processes usually isn’t at the top of the list. How bad does it have to get before you say “uncle”? Help is available.
Executives have really learned to do more with less. How else can you keep missing the top line estimate and still manage to exceed bottom line expectations? The professionals you hire get locked in to daily routines and often don’t question the way “things have always been done”. When it comes to improving processes, they are often too close to the situation, too set in their current methodology or too busy to put any real effort into making things better.
I remember years ago abject panic setting in because so and so was retiring. NOBODY could do her job. It required a daily, manual foray into a massive paper report. I scheduled a meeting with the three affected departments. We reviewed the process. It turned out the report could be produced electronically and run through a program looking for any one of four exceptions. The person would then review the exceptions – looking at only 20% of the report not 100%. It became part of another person’s daily task – eliminating a $50k salary and benefits position that was all transaction focused with no value add. Was it worth spending a few hours in meetings and a few days automating the process?
The question really isn’t, “can I afford to spend money on fixing process”? It’s more, “can you afford NOT to spend money fixing processes”? That’s the punch line. The costs associated with fixing processes should pay for themselves several times over. Process improvement is a cost reduction opportunity, not a cost burden. How much money is slipping through the cracks at your organization?