Let me tell you why YOU need standardization in YOUR business. Bear with me for a second!
We all brush teeth every day, right? At least we all should. Let me show you how I see this from the process approach!
This is a pretty simple process and can be broken down into the following steps:
- Wash the brush under running water
- Squeeze some paste on the brush
- Brush the teeth
- Wash the brush
- Wash the mouth
Simple? Yes! Let’s use it as an SOP!
- How much toothpaste do I squeeze each time? Or;
- How long do I brush the teeth? And;
- How do I know when to stop?
Even this, seemingly simple process still has so much room for variations. My way of following these 5 steps can be dramatically different than yours. Why it is important?
Let’s imagine for a minute that I run… a “VIP Tooth Brushing Service” at 7 stars super-duper all-inclusive mega-hotel! Where the staff takes care of all of your needs and even toothbrushing is included!
My service is so popular, that now I want to hire somebody to help me brushing my clients’ teeth.
The problem is if me and my employee do the job differently, it will be hard for me to accurately predict my business expenses. How would I know;
- How much paste do I need per 1000 clients?
- Do I order enough brushes?
- What is my current cycle time – meaning how long it takes to complete a process for one client?
Can you see now how following a standard process, with controlled variables, can be important even in a silly example of a Tooth Brushing Service?
How about your business? How much time and money do you waste allowing your processes to be all over the place?
Any business is driven by results, by the bottom lines. When I speak about expenses and overheads most of my prospects and clients will jump right into cost reductions and cuts in consumables and materials. But how about labor? It is always one of your largest expenses. When was the last time you looked at the time spent on the jobs and ways to reduce it?
The only way you can do it is by following the exact same process again and again and tracking its performance and results.
The principles are pretty simple:
- Break the job, a process, into separate steps and see how can you do them faster and more efficiently.
- Anything you do more than once, on a regular basis, is considered a repeatable process and should be looked at and examined.
Here what you can do:
Look at your business… Do you have a rockstar? Somebody that just nailed it, and rocks it every time?
If yes, great! Let’s try and duplicate THEIR process!
First, break the process into single steps by following the rockstar and note the sequence of steps, how long they take and what tools and resources are used. This is called Process Mapping.
Remember the teeth brushing service? Toothpaste and brushes are the resources and tools…
Second – review the document you just drafted with the rockstar. Is it exactly what is done? Add any comments and make changes if needed.
Third – try to follow the steps and see if your end-results are identical.
If not, find the reasons… Sometimes it is because of the skillset differences. If this is the case – CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve found your first IDENTIFIED training opportunity.
Four – test your newly created work instruction with somebody new to the job and observe them doing it. Is it easy to follow? Do they get the results you want?
No..? Back to the drawing board! Refine the instructions.
Yes? Awesome! Make sure everybody does the job this way.
One pro tip here:
Even in the “tooth brushing service” work instruction, we could potentially create separate instructions for the technical steps. For example, for the brushing, it could be a sub-instruction to describe the proper holding technique, brush pressure, and stroke. It is your discretion if you want to include these details in your main instruction or leave it out, assuming a person who does the job was trained to do it.
Now, one HUGE bonus you’ll get from this activity is an opportunity to question the current way of doing things, probably tune it up, or even re-do it completely. I’ve seen it happen many times! Because often, you so used to do something in a specific way, you just don’t question it.
And, when you examine the process, noticing the time, tools, and resources needed for each step… All of a sudden you start to see the obvious cuts and savings, otherwise hidden in the process…
To wrap it up:
- If you think YOUR business doesn’t need standardization, think twice…
- It doesn’t matter if it is a product or service-based business or how long have you done that. If you don’t have it – you need it.
- With very few exceptions, standardization will save you time and money!
Start small. Complete one process. Move to another one. You will see the gains. I promise you!
And if you need a little help along the way, me and my team are always here to help with this, and any other business growth strategies.
Because remember? At Congruent Clarity – Your Success is My Story