Systems Checks for Your Business
Have you checked your processes and systems lately? During the quieter times of the year it is a great time to test your systems and evaluate how it is all. Often we have different people performing the crucial tasks to keep our business running, while some of the staff are on holidays. It provides a unique insight, into how well our systems are in place, and how good our ongoing cross training is.
Every process within our business can be documented in a simple and visual way. This will make sure whoever is performing that task does it in a repeatable fashion that will meet both the company and customer expectations. If a process is too hard to document, then it will be too hard to perform repeatable and will be prone to errors and poor quality. Firstly we need to check that our key processes have been documented; everything for answering the phone and taking orders, to getting those orders out the door, and everything in between needs to have simple processes written down.
Secondly, we need the people who will be performing these tasks over the holidays to be aware that documented processes exist and understand them sufficiently to be able to complete the task, in it;s entirety. We need all of the paperwork to be complete, the computer transactions competed and the product delivered. Just getting the customer what he wants without the proper paperwork or computer transactions being done indicates that the proper process hasn’t been followed.
The logistic systems also need to be considered; when an item was sent to the customer, was there a kanban trigger that needed moving, to let someone upstream know that a part has been sent out and we need to order or make a replacement.
It always amazes us at TXM to see so many good systems fall part because the senior management who were working tried to get the customer what they wanted without regard for the internal systems.
So be on the look out for places were the process weren’t followed and ask yourself:
1. was this process properly documented?
2. does to documentation match the actual process?
3. did those who need to perform the tasks know about the documentation?
4. if parts of a process have been missed, how do we let that person know there is problem?
Let’s start NOW in reviewing our process, systems, documentation and training, to ensure these problems don’t arise again!