1. What DO Customers Buy From Us?
As a first step, ask yourself, the team, management (and even the customers themselves) what it is that your organisation ‘DOES’. When seen from an outside perspective, why does your organisation exist at all?
2. What Else Do We Do?
If you were perfectly efficient, you’d just do what the customers want, and it would take no time at all, and cost almost nothing. So what else happens? What enabling activities need to take place before you can create the value? What accounting & recording activities take place after?
3. See Any Patterns In The ‘Other’ Stuff?
Now think about those ‘other’ activities. Does every job seem to need the same type of preparation doing, and the same information analysed afterwards?
4. Are There Patterns In the ‘Value’?
Often this is harder to see. But when you take a slightly more ‘wide angle’ view, you’ll see that most jobs which seem unique at the detail level, have the same series of activities performed.
5. Map The Patterns
Work with your team to draw process maps of how the patterns flow. Where a step needs a particular set of ‘things’ (either physical, or To-Do items ticked), make sure you list them as enablers.
6. Can You Simplify?
Look for duplicate or redundant steps. Can you combine or eliminate activities that don’t add value?
7. Systemising Needn’t Mean Computers
You can get big benefits from automating even small businesses with software like Mamut (and Jan Grieveson uses this as a cornerstone for business turnaround). But you can also get easy results from things like paper-based checklists, and clear, visual management techniques to improve the ease with which people can operate the workplace.
Next: Three Things To Do To Find Out More