How To Set up A Process Within Your Business

processI might say that I was thankful that I had a chance to work in a company that is ISO Certified. Things like these are taken for granted by employees and I’m one of them. I always think that those things are only for big companies because big companies that are certified by ISO have a advantage of bringing quality goods because they have procedures and are “in order”. That is the main objective of ISO. And since those big companies are ISO certified, they require their suppliers to be ISO certified so my previous employer was forced to have his company ISO certified because the company was their supplier of semiconductor bonding tools . I also have a feeling that he (my previous employer), also take that for granted and thinks that it was just an additional cost. But if you just think of the benefits you will have later on having procedures or processes documented, in the long run, maybe you will change your mind. I agree that doing documentations on your procedures can be tedious and costly. For example, if you have a business with many staffs, you will have to pay for their time making procedures instead of doing other productive work. And if you have a very small business and you are the only worker around, you will have to spend time doing them.

The main benefit of having documented procedures is making you prepared for any unexpected circumstances. If you have a documented procedure, you will have no problem of getting back to the process and remember everything if you need to delegate or to outsource. Imagine, how will you explain everything if you needed to expand your business and make additional workforce? or if you need to outsource, you cannot possibly give the detail of what you really wanted for your business in a short period of time. Not only that, if you have workers that have specialized jobs, if one of them left or just having a vacation, who will replace the job if no one else know what to do on that specific job?

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So with that I think the article send to me in a newsletter might be helpful to you. The article looks interesting because it is not complicated as learning ISO documentation and teaches simple instructions on how to make a process within your business.

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How To Set up A Process Within Your Business

By David Bullock

One of the most important skills to have as a business owner is to
know how to set up a simple process, for yourself as well as others.

The first thing to do is get all the pieces and parts required to do the
process together in one place, or at the very least listed on a piece
of paper.

If I’m looking to figure how to use a new piece of equipment, the first
thing I want to know is how to turn it on and off and how to adjust it.
I know that may seem overly simple, and it is indeed very basic.

However, most people don’t read instructions or take tutorials, but I
find that by taking the instructional tutorial for new software or new
equipment I can use the equipment better and get more out of it.

Here’s an example:

If you are working with a new software program, write out
step-by-step how to:

* Log in
* Create a new file
* Save a file
* Modify a file
* etc.

If you lay this out initially and even take screenshots of what you’ll
see as you work through the program, you will save tons of time later
when trying to outsource work with this software to someone else.

If your software is popular, there are probably tutorials available already,
but that does not always means the way that you use it is fully
documented in the standard software manual.

What we’re trying to do is create documentation on how this particular
task is used in YOUR business, not just general documentation.

There are so many things that you can do with any given piece of
software, any online program or equipment, but if you document the
steps that are relevant to you and your business you will be in better
shape later.

Here’s the key to this and why doing it earlier on is critical.

As you get better at doing something you will start to forget steps.
You start to “know” what to do and not “think” about what to do.

When it becomes time for you to pass a task on to someone else,
you’ll have to rethink the whole thing because you will have mastered
it and forgotten critical steps. So take the time now. It will be harder
later for you to remember with enough detail to teach it effectively.

Steps for creating a process:

  1. Define the task that you’re trying to complete.
  2. Write down that name of the task so that you and others know what is wanted and needed to be accomplished.
  3. Define the estimated time that you think it is going to take to complete the task.

If it is taking the person longer than that, they may have missed a
critical step of the process. You need to refine the process to include
the steps that have been missed.

Note: If you are outsourcing, this is a great quality control check.

I learned when I was a maintenance supervisor that if I did not put a
time constraint or time expectation on a job, that job would take
forever or never get done.

Ask yourself the question “what materials do I need to have to completethis task?”
And I mean everything. Make that list.

Now physically go through the process step-by-step. Actually push the

buttons and know what needs to happen to complete the task.
This is where you will discover if you missed any steps. Take
screenshots too if they will help.

You are going for completeness of the documentation, outlining
exactly what you have to do from sitting down to completion of task.
It might take an hour to document a five-minute task, but you will
save many times that in the future when this documentation
is complete.

Now I know some of you are saying, “Why should I document all
this? So-and-so takes care of this for me.” Well, I have a question
for you. What happens if so-and-so is not there one day, and you
don’t know how to get the task done? You are up the creek without
a paddle.

Once while a supervisor, I ran into a situation where all of my guys
were specialists. Each could only work in one specific area. One
day, two guys were out, and machines that only they could fix went
down. Thousands of dollars in production time were lost because I
did not have my team cross-trained. Because I had let the crew
members become specialists, I had to call in overtime from others
to get things done. Not having backup plans will cost you time and
money every time. From that day forward, I made sure that
everyone in my crew was at least knowledgeable about what the
others could do. And I never had down day again.

A very smart man told me this one day…

“I would rather take an hour documenting a task well and making it
a process than to take the five minutes doing the task over and over
again myself. If I document it once and create a process once, then
I have gained that five minutes for a lifetime.”

You can use any tool you want to document your process. Some
people use yellow pads, notepads, or Excel spreadsheets. I use
a tool called SimpleFlowChart.com which creates neat process
maps for me.

Documenting your process is a first step to outsourcing. Once you
have a documented process, you can easily assign the task to
someone else to handle.

A flow chart with a step-by-step list is all the documentation that
you’ll need.

The faster you document, the faster you can outsource, and the
faster you pull your time out of a process. That frees you up for
things that require YOU and not just SOMEONE. Work more ON
your business instead of IN it. (Or take a vacation!)

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One more thing, and this is important: you can automate with
people or technology. The key is to document the technology so
that you can automate with people as fast as possible.

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