Seek and You Shall Find

Jul 21


Alan R. Jones

Alan R. Jones

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Seek and You Shall FindLast week’s article was the first in a series of three brought to you by Live Chat. The series discusses a way to assess the performance of a business. The model is a simple one,Seek and You Shall Find Articles asking that management STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN. In the first article the focus was on STOP, meaning that to begin the assessment of your business the first step is to stop, that is, set aside the time to do the assessment. . Once your business dedicates the time the next step is equally simple, it is to LOOK and this is what this second article will explain in detail.More than the stop and listen components of this model LOOK is the most active part of the process. It is the Looking at your business that important details will surface. Hopefully, some of these details will include areas of the business that have been overlooked or maybe even neglected.One of the benefits of the STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN model is that this process works for the small business to larger ones. The chart information may need to be modified depending on the size of the business, but the ideas are the same for any business.What to look for? Begin with a flow chart; actually two flow charts. The first charts how staff is distributed. This can be either by department or by assigned tasks. The second chart is to map out the flow of your product. It should include its course from its entry in the front door until it leaves through the back door.It is best if those on the team are assigned to work on one of the two charts. It is even better if they are assigned to a chart that they would be least familiar with. Each of the two teams is given their assignment as well as a deadline for its presentation to the group. Make sure they understand that they are covering new groundwork.One final word that can be threatening to some or be unclear to others is this: in all reporting honesty must be the rule. In order to gain the quality of information needed, there must be a sense that there will be no repercussions.Here are some suggestions for each flowchart:Chart 1: Staff Distribution:
  1. Every staff member’s time is accounted for.
  2. Hours per week spent at the job site.
  3. What areas of the business does each one work in?
  4. What percentage of their time is spent doing their primary assignment(s)?
  5. Are there areas that are understaffed?
  6. Are there areas that are overstaffed?
Chart 2: Product Flow:
  1. How does the product reach the front door?
  2. What is delivered, i.e., large assortment of parts for assembly, only a few, or is the product already assembled?
  3. What is the firm’s goal for the product? Drop shipment, new labeling, assembly, packaging or other?
  4. How is this goal met? What is the process?
  5. How is quality control maintained and customer service delivered?
  6. What is the process for getting the finished product out the back door and to the customer?
Each team should be urged to collect whatever collateral information is necessary to assure the accuracy of their data. Once each team has finalized its chart it is then time for the final step: LISTEN! This will be the focus of the next article brought to you courtesy of Live Chat.

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