Post Recession Challenge #2

Here is the second challenge for business CEO/owners as we slowly crawl out of a bad recession: Think horizontally, not just vertically. The focus of this challenge is to encourage you to delve deeply into how your business does things and get your employees involved in finding better ways to do them. What are your main processes? Sales? Manufacturing or Service Delivery? Order Entry? Payroll? Accounts Payable and Receivable? Make your list and then see how many of them exist as “islands.” Island in this case means everything that happens in that process is viewed as discrete and disconnected from other things the business does.

Ask yourself, can that be true? If it is not true-and chances are it is not- what are the connections between those processes and others that can be made to improve efficiency, timeliness of delivery, productivity, profitability and most important of all, customer service. For example, when a customer orders something, does that order flow seamlessly through data entry, production, delivery, invoicing, collection, posting and commissions paid? Why would you tolerate separate efforts at keeping track of things at each step along the way? When your customers look at your business, they see one entity, not a collection of separate processes. The challenge is to operate the way your customers see you. The payoffs can be significant.