Processes, don’t forget them.
People often analyse every shred of data available to gain deeper and deeper insights into how their businesses are performing. Management accounts, sales reports, marketing analysis and KPI’s, alongside every other report that could possibly be created.
The hours that are spent by employees creating and managing reports on a yearly basis is staggering (I know because once upon a time I was that person). I use the word staggering not because spending that much time on reporting is wrong, nor is it a waste of time.
I use that word because so many recipients of these wonderfully turned out reports fail to realise the time and effort it takes to create and maintain them.
Companies often employee and pay a report writer/s to interpret data and report it, managers to view it and act on it and directors to drive a company forward based upon the output.
All of this data exists because of processes, but what surprises me is that many companies pay so much attention to the output of processes, but yet so little to the process maintenance.
Now I know I will sound like a bit of a process geek, but I don’t care. I have come to learn over the years that not only are quality processes the building blocks of any business, they are also vital to help ensure you don’t open your company up to financial and legal issues.
Processes link people and departments together, ensure customers get satisfaction and keep coming back. Processes help maintain compliance and best practice, they keep you business moving forward.
We often take care of our best members of staff, nurture them, train them, ensure we get them best out them for the benefit of both parties. Do the same with your processes, take care of them.
Please don’t think i am saying you need to have a full-blown BPM system or go out and get a BSI accreditation tomorrow, but if you do not have your processes documented I strongly suggest you do it now.
I promise it will be worth the time, money and effort. It does not matter if you have 2 processes or 200 you can rarely improve a process until you truly understand it.
That goes for not ignoring your processes even if you have documented them, continue to audit them, if you don’t have the resource get a consultant once a year to do it. Just because you have a process does not mean your employees will follow it.
In fact I recently did an internal audit for a client and out of the ten processes we looked at six had some form of non conformance. In other words 60% of the audits showed that people were taking shortcuts, information was missing or not filed correctly, the directors of that business have now taken action to put that right.
To find some sort of summary I will say, a process is not just for christmas! Please take advice where you can, don’t wait until the damage of poor process management is done.
Look after your processes, and they will look after you.