In a few weeks I'm going to be speaking at a one-day conference on scaling a medical practice in Tampa. As I was preparing for this event I started writing out my best suggestions to help a medical business refine and strengthen its core systems. What I realized was this methodology would apply to any business - manufacturer, service businesses, retailers, etc.
Here is a summary of the six steps to redesign your company's core systems to be better, faster, cheaper, and more effective.
1. Pick the highest leverage system to focus on first. It's a big investment of time and talent to redesign a system, start by picking the one system that will yield the biggest return for your company to focus on improving first.
2. Lay out the current system you are using. If it's a formal system, print up or diagram out the system as it exists now. Have the system laid out for your "tiger team" who is tasked with improving it to review. If it's an informal system without a written version, this is your chance to draft the informal system so you have a starting point frozen in writing.
3. Get clear on the purpose and key outcomes of this system. What is it really supposed to do? Why does this matter? Who is the real user or recipient of these outputs? Why do they really matter to that recipient? Have you talked with the recipient about what really matters to them about the outputs? In other words, this is your chance to get really clear on the big picture reason for the system and to see it fresh.
Keeping in mind the high level purpose and outcomes of the system, tear apart your current system and brainstorm ways to improve it. How can you make it better? Faster? Cheaper? Higher quality? Greater capacity and scalability? More impactful?
Which steps are redundant or could be designed out? Which steps could be automated? Combined or simplified? Outsourced? Insourced? Templated?
How could you speed up the process? Reduce the people needed? Make it more robust? More stable? Less prone to error?
4. Smooth out the ideas you've generated into a new, cohesive whole. Pay attention to the format of the system not just the process. Process ensures the system can work; format ensures that people actually USE the system and get the results you want. For example, would a section of the system work best as an automated email drip campaign? Or as a checklist? Or as mandatory fields in the database? Or as a boilerplate format? Or...
Over time the best systems end up in two forms: Form one is the full system documented thoroughly. This form is critical for archiving institutional learnings. Form two is the simple tools that an experienced user of this system can use. These tools are fast and easy for a person well versed in the system to use to get the needed result. Ideally you'll have both for your organization.
5. Implement and track the new system. Is it really an improvement? What are the most meaningful KPIs to measure its value and enhancement? Is it the speed it does the work? Or the volume of the output? Or the cost of the process? Every core system should have some meaningful control in place to monitor its effectiveness.
How do you know if your refinements were improvements? By measuring and observing the impact of the new "improvements".
6. Repeat the process with the next system.
If you enjoyed the ideas I shared, then I encourage you to download a free copy of my newest book, Build a Business, Not a Job. Click here for full details and to get your complimentary copy.