The worldwide pandemic changed what we knew as normal business operations in profound ways. The “New Normal”, “New Now”, or whatever language used to describe our current business environments will continue to evolve in the coming months.
Since the pandemic moved the implementation of systems to the forefront of “normal business operations”, their use continues to support businesses to be “open” when virus rates climb forcing closures again.
Businesses that invest in systems are more likely to have higher revenues than those who don’t. There are many stories of system implementations that exceed cost projections, are incomplete, or don’t work as designed. Do you want to implement systems in your business but don’t know where to start?
Consider these topics to help you determine if your business is ready for new systems to be implemented:
- Business Foundation: Do you have a solid business foundation – vision, mission, and values? Are these communicated broadly, to your stakeholders, on your website, and more? When you have taken the time to set a solid business foundation, it helps to direct your actions for growth.
- Business Culture: Are you proud of your business culture? Or is there a need to adjust your business culture for better customer interactions, for example? If your business has been grown through mergers and acquisitions, for example, there are possibly different cultures in place that affect your operating practices. Implementing systems without a single set of procedures for how to do something – take customer orders, ship products to customers, and more – do not allow you to define how a new system should work in your business. The absence of written procedures, or incomplete procedures, are stumbling blocks for systems implementation success.
- Strategic Vision / Plan: Have you created a strategic vision or plan that includes implementing new systems? Can you quantify the benefits you’ll achieve with a new system? Strategy directs your actions to move your business forward to achieve new goals – reduce costs, provide better customer service, reduce returns, or whatever is defined to grow your business. Looking at your strategy, across your entire business, can help to identify other areas that can benefit from the implementation of a new system.
- Written Procedures: Are the practices you follow for taking a customer’s order or shipping them their order written? Are exceptions, plus the normal, routine process documented, or are you, as the business owner, consistently needed to answer questions from your team? Documented procedures are great tools to train your team, keep you focused on the bigger picture, and educate software providers about your requirements in a new computer system. When you can articulate your processes, the vendors you talk with can provide you greater information about how their systems will perform in various situations.
- Team Knowledge: Do you have faith in your team performing consistently every day, all day, or are you micromanaging them because you don’t trust they know how to do the job as you would? You hired your team, trust them to do the job. If team members are not performing the job as outlined in the procedures, give them additional training; don’t do the job for them. There will be team members who will be your greatest assets in designing and implementing new systems. If you’re thinking that new systems can help you reduce headcount, it can but consider the knowledge you’ll lose about how your business operates. Consider retraining your team or expanding into new markets with your new system and existing team (that’s part of the activities to consider in your strategic vision/plan). Plus, your team might have insights into improvements that can give you a competitive advantage with your new system.
If you want to learn more about how to position your business for new systems, click here, complete the form, and schedule a call to talk with Laurette.