How To: Optimise your Systems for Consistency

This article is to complement our recent webinar, hosted by Best Practice CEO, Kobi Simmat who talks comprehensively on the topic, and fielded questions from the audience, which you can access here.

"Across professions, consistency is a direct product of work ethic." - Harsha Bhogle

We’ve noticed that from working with a number of clients across countless industries, we’ve there’s an overall trend for organisations to be constantly reacting to problems and events as they arise, rather than having a stringent set of preventative measures in place.

This is where the consistency that is inspired by a successfully implemented quality management system can really make a change to your business.

A management system, by definition, is a set of processes that are able to be repeated; repeatable steps that are able to give you a repeatable - consistent - result. When we’re looking at things like ISO9001, 14001, 27001, these are management system specifications looking to give you a breakdown of the elements to include in your management system to be better able to manage your business; all of which are encouraging you to contemplate risk-based thinking. Risk based thinking in turn should inspire a level of pre-emptive steps to address and account for potential problems.

The system is made up of a dashboard of statistics, or KPIs, which are designed to give you the clearest view over your organisation possible. So, what does a consistent system look like? Well, it culminates into a combination of tracking your key statistics and KPIs, as well as the monitoring of your processes. We’re hoping you’ll be better positioned to capture your ‘winning formula’, and clearly map out your critical processes, and how you can define some repeatable steps for your staff to follow, so you can empower them and grow the team in-line the larger goals of the business.

Taking an in-depth look at your operations will give you an idea of where things could potentially go wrong. You can make this judgement call based on your reporting of previous customer complaints, or areas that your staff have mentioned a potential shortfall in your supply chain, for example. This period of reflection of your operations should be measured and monitored, and fed into your dashboard of statistics for further extrapolation.

As we move through the process, a scenario might present both risks and opportunities.

A SWOT analysis is an absolutely essential part when you’re trying to inspire some consistency in your business. Analysing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats for the purpose of asking yourself: “What are we doing about these things?” How can you further leverage your strengths? How can you better compensate for your weaknesses, and possibly turn these into a strong point of your business. This type of analysis will help to inform how you prepare your action plan to help build and execute on these issues as you move forward.

One of the biggest factors to consider here as you’re shaping your management system to become a more consistent machine is to consider your key stakeholders. They’ll consistently influence some of the steps you’ll follow, or slightly change the course of one of your business’ key operations. We’re talking primarily about your customers here, but depending on your industry, it could be your shareholders, contractors or even your staff.

Wrapping all this up, remember to keep it simple. You don’t want to overcomplicate this, otherwise you’ll risk undoing your previous work in assembling your system. Keep your eyes locked on your most important statistics, and be sure to ask around the business where and what aspects of your operations present potential risks. If you can acknowledge, account for and potentially mitigate these risks before they become problematic, you can potentially turn these risks into an opportunity for the business.

Again, keeping it simple is an important part of making this whole ‘recipe’ both accessible, and repeatable. In principle, you’ll be meeting with top-line management four times a year and reviewing these statistics, and you won’t need to meet more than that if your system is efficient, effective, and most importantly of all, working for you and the business in an efficient manner.

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