With the current economic climate hitting companies and industries quite hard, a number are now asking not only how to survive but also how to thrive. Based on our work in transforming various back offices, here are a few pointers:
- Find and take care of your people, especially your stars. People are the only ‘systems’ in the world that can sense and respond to rapid changes.
- Focus on speeding up your cycle times. Measure your key processes in terms length of time to complete and then figure out how to cut them by 50%. Repeat this again and again.
- Ensure everyone has a stake in the game. If some people feel they are just ‘spectators’, you will not be able to survive the competition where their people have something at stake (i.e. job, reputation, pension, etc.)
- Don’t lean on technology to fix the problem. To many executives believe that buying the next system will solve all their problems. Unfortunately, they don’t spend the time to understand their problems before choosing the technology.
- Simplify the number of steps or number of processes you need to do the work. When we study our clients processes, the first thing we count is the number of processes and steps within each process. We then look for ways to cut this by 50%. This basic premise generates not only a lot of savings but reduces a lot of stress within the business.
These are a few ideas you may want to consider when you are tasked with changing things in your business to survive today’s economy. They may sound simple but we have found them to be very effective.