When you find a good way of doing something in your business, do you capture the process so you can repeat it at another time?
If you have a team, do you have a method of capturing their good ways of doing something?
If you don’t, then now is a good time to introduce an improvement system.
Whether you run a small or large business, systems help make running it easier; or in the case of a larger business, possible.
From my experience in Quality Management Systems, efficient and effective systems make for a better business.
The key is to keep things as simple as possible. Better to go for the concepts in something like ISO9001 and use the structure as a guide, than build an over complex QMS that hinders your business.
As an example, take the 5s approach: – Sort, Straighten, Shine, Systemise, Sustain. This is a well proven approach to running a business that is more like a culture than just a system.
If your business doesn’t have a big team, you may just need to have a ‘cheat sheet’ approach. I often use a checklist to remember how to do tasks I only do irregularly and don’t want to have to relearn. It also helps remove errors.
To develop the systems you need, start at the beginning and work through all the activities in your business to see what you regularly do. Determine what sort of control you need to exert over an activity; it could be in the form of a process, procedure, standard, work instruction or checklist. The simpler the better.
Introduce new systems into your business over a sensible period of time, they will become the norm ‘the why things are done here’.
It may also help to read up on Kaizen – continuous improvement, in small steps. Just google Kaizen and there are a plethora of articles, blogs and books on the topic. You may want to look at the Toyota approach – They are one of the world leaders in kaizen.
A good book I’ve found is 5S Kaizen in 90 Minutes by Andrew Scotchmer – A great introduction with a practical approach on the ‘how to’.
If you decide that it’s time to control your business, I’d be interested to know how it goes. Maybe you would be happy to share your learnings on the blog.