12 Nov 8 steps to a healthier business in 2018
2018 is only a month away but do you remember December 1999?
It was a time when businesses throughout the world were in a mad panic, because of the fear of the Y2K computer bug and the soothsayer’s prediction that the world would end. As we now know, it didn’t happen. Apart from overhauling their computer systems, the business world waltzed into the new century. While that gave most businesses peace of mind, what was not realized was that so many businesses entered the new millennium with the same old tired, unchallenged, and in many cases never-been-reviewed, business systems that they had been using for years. In some cases, they were worse than a plumber’s nightmare due to them leaking hundreds of thousands of hard earned profits. The sad thing is that many didn’t even know it was happening.
Is your business still in this situation and if so, at what cost?
If your business could add 1-2% to its bottom line, what would be the financial benefit? $………………………
The question you should be asking is, if I can add 1%, why and where is my business leaking money?? To help you to get an insight and perhaps a fix on this, here are 8 points to check over Christmas for 2018, and hopefully head you on the road to the 1-2% for little or no cost.
- Do you have a business plan and when was the last time you reviewed it for completion or sign off against your business goals and objectives?
- Check that your budget lines up with the business planning;
- Does your business have a formal monthly management review progress to monitor and measure the progress of your business plan?
- How many other people’s lives are directly and indirectly reliant on your planning, decision making and success of your business?
If you say no to any of the above points, I suggest that you act on these ASAP, as this is your roadmap for the survival of your business for 2018 and beyond.
Check that your policies are current and in line with:
- Your business planning and objectives;
- Any new legislative requirements (e.g. the Hazardous Substances Regulations 2017); and
- Your business industry standards.
Check that your documented management systems are:
- Current – if not, review them with your management team to ensure they are and that versions of all documents, especially product specifications, are current;
- They fit your business vision, goals, objectives and operation processes; and
- They are current and are aligned to any current legislation, industry standards and customer requirements.
Software security systems
- Are your software storage facilities secure and reliable?
- Do you have adequate off-site backup systems?
- Are all IT systems password protected?
- Do you have a policy or process to change passwords on a scheduled basis for the protection of your company data?
Personnel and Staffing
- Do you have adequate coverage and capability of personnel in your business?
Undertake a needs assessment on the capability and skills competencies of all personnel in relationship to their current functions, and more importantly, for the future development of your business for 2018.
Standard and Safe operating procedures (SOPs)
- Does the business have these SOPs in place to maintain consistency of your product or services?
If not, seriously consider the development of your SOPs for induction, training to minimise and to eliminate costly mistakes, rework, waste loss of clients and financial leakage. If they are in place, are they current, when were they last reviewed?
Health and Safety
No longer can this be a bottom drawer activity of your business!
- Are all senior and other managers trained and aware of their responsibilities under the new H&S legislation? If not, make this a plan for 2018.
- Are your employees trained and involved in the company’s H&S processes?
- Review the risk/hazard registers for currency, and where required, act on any outstanding actions for managing the hazards
- Review your incident and accident registers for current or emerging trends that could impact on your business;
- When was the last time your business carried out a trial emergency evacuation? Where you have 10 or more employees, these should be carried out twice a year.
Non-conformances and costly mistakes
E.g. accidents, waste, scrap, lost time, rejects, mistakes, loss of customers, employment disputes, etc.
Does your business have a system to document and maintain a register of all incidents, regardless of what they are, the type, or cost?
If you do:
- Are all managers and staff trained in this system and why?
- Is there an open no-blame and accessible method for all personnel to record the incidents or non-conformances?
- Do you or a dedicated employee manage this process?
- Do you have a process for investigating the root cause of these incidents and to close the gaps by implementing corrective and preventative actions?
- Do you attribute a cost to these costly incidents?
- Are the type, number and costs of these mistakes tabled as a report to the monthly management meeting?
- What is the cost of the business non-conformances to date or for 2017?
There will be many reading this and asking why should I bother with non-conformance? “It’s too time consuming, too costly, too much like hard work, it’s easier to do nothing” but at what cost?
The reality is that these costs are usually passed onto your customers and while you do nothing, your opposition may well be closing the gaps in their business and actively working as financial loss plumbers and even planning to provide a more cost-effective service to your customers in the future.
I suggest that you take time over Christmas or in that week before starting work to seriously think about these 8 points and especially the last point, for obvious reasons.
As they say, “if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got”.
If you wish to discuss this further, please contact us today.