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Solving Some Of The Mysteries Of Owning A Business: Part II- Operations/Production

We have talked before in this space about the “four box diagram” of a business. The four boxes are marketing/sales, operations/production, finance/administration and human resources. We all have various strengths and weaknesses relative to the four boxes. We cannot know and be good at all four. There is a tendency to view the areas we are weak in as “mysteries.” We just want someone to take care of them while we work in the areas in which we are strong. But, as an owner, to regard the other areas as mysteries can be perilous. Every owner needs to know some basics about each area in order to successfully hire outside resources to help or fill that area with the right employees. This week’s box is Operations/Production.

Like everything else in business, operations and production can be well designed and supported systems.

  1. Keying off your differentiation research, find out 3-5 key service objectives you must continually meet to build and maintain revenue and profit growth.
  2. Get everyone involved in doing the work to meet those objectives to resolve issues and document procedures. Record them in an internal Wiki that is accessible to all to be updated with improvements when they are adopted.
  3. Build a daily or weekly measurement system that tracks individual and team performance, and relate sustained performance to compensation.
  4. Use technology to increase productivity to facilitate whole processes, not just an application.

There is nothing dehumanizing about systems. They only work if people design, implement and operate them. Start with your customers in mind, and have your staff use well-designed processes to get and keep your customers.