So, you finally get that order that you have been trying to get for months – and what happens?

It goes backwards and forwards between sales, engineering, manufacturing and finance, you are late with delivery, the new customer is not happy… Need I go on?

If your company sounds (even vaguely) like this, what you need to do is put process first. With strong ‘end to end’ processes you will be able to pull together the disparate parts of your organisation and deliver real value to your customers.

This is not the same as being ISO accredited. It’s more a way of life! It’s about giving you the capability to deliver high performance across your business. It gives everyone a common focus and alignment.

Here are some tips for when putting process first:

  • Remember that customers are key. The output of your end to end process must be something that adds value to them.
  • Ensure that everyone understands “the process” and their role in it. Get the metrics in place that allow this to happen – these will probably not be the metrics you are using today.
  • Think about managing by process – not by function. Get rid of your functional “silos” – you know, the ones who pass things around between each other without actually getting anything done for the customer!
  • Processes need to be owned – by the senior people in the business.
  • Continuous improvement is vital. There is ALWAYS opportunity to improve!

Do not be scared to shake the company up by putting process first. You may need to align your infrastructure and organisation differently – and yes, this might cause some short term disruption – but the long term gain will be worth it. It drives a culture of teamwork and shared responsibility, whilst also providing people with more satisfying jobs, responsibility and self respect. These people are more engaged with your company, produce higher quality work and take more responsibility.

Make process your way of life. You will see the difference!