Understanding your people and processes before your system

If I were to pick out the one concept that most companies fail to understand, it is the three cornerstones of a business.  Sure the foundation is built on the customers, and sales are built on good customers, but like all good structures, the foundation is only as good as the cornerstones.

People, Process and Systems

People are the foundational cornerstone of business.  With good people comes good business.  With bad people comes bad business.  You cannot keep customers if your people do not treat the customers correctly and you cannot keep your people unless you treat them correctly.

People need processes to function.  They either develop these processes or the process was refined from someone before them.  When people own the process, you have pride of workmanship and job satisfaction.  People who have no process are doing nothing for your customers or you.  No matter how simple, if the people are doing work, they have a process.

If you have good processes, the people will be busy.  They will need tools to get the job done faster.  When you first started, everyone may have been able to use a pallet-jack, but then you moved up to fork-riders and maybe to fork-trucks.  Each different mechanical system has the benefit of making the job easier for your people.

However, if I have a pick/pack operation, placing everyone on a fork-truck may not be as efficient as a fork-rider.  Or if I am only moving pallets on and off trailers, a rider is not as quick or easy as a fork-truck.  Both systems, the fork-truck and rider, have different purposes.  I cannot look to load a trailer with a reach-truck, so there are even different systems that have been developed for high racking versus truck tendering within fork-truck systems.

Just like there are different mechanical systems, there are different software systems.  Knowing which system to use requires someone to understand the people and the process.  To shortcut this process is to have reach-truck operators moving off the reach-truck and onto a pallet-jack to complete the process.  This makes job satisfaction go down and decreases your efficiency, throughput and profit.

But unlike the trucks, riders and jacks of the mechanical systems, most, if not all, computer systems require customization or configuration to match the process.  Without understanding the process, you get to trial and error.  In some processes, like payroll, trial and error leads to big problems.

Lost goods, unreceived items, OS&D, late deliveries, supply chain problems, shortage of goods and mistakes are just some of the calamities that can be caused by choosing the wrong system and implementing it the wrong way.

The small investment up front to get things right can mean big savings and productivity enhancement.

Even if you have gone through that process before, the assumption that nothing has changed can be fatal.  Growing businesses change, and which that change comes process change.

I can help you by evaluating your process in terms of these systems.  If you are interested in a free initial discussion, please contact me.  I have been known to tell people they are on the right path and I don’t believe my services are necessary.  However, it may be that hiring me could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in mistakes.