Margins Are Built One Brick at a Time

Margins Are Built One Brick at a Time

Sales might ebb and flow but your margins should be built strong one small step at a time.

Anyone that has lost weight knows about continuous improvement – calories in, calories out – run despite the cold morning, one meal at a time.

Some large organisations try to do this by slashing staff numbers and making those left behind scramble to catch up. Then repeat the process. Anyone waiting on hold for 30 minutes lately knows what that looks like. When you are the shareholder you want a steady ship.

Strong margin control is best done by continuously improving and documenting processes. Well designed and documented processes, and well trained people, allow tasks to be done by someone less senior than if chaos is situation normal.

Well documented processes can be allocated to your people as recurring tasks. New people can learn one task at a time. If someone goes on leave well documented processes make it easy to allocate their tasks to someone else while they are away. A great internal control.

Your people should be encouraged to recommend changes to processes. Having said that, the skills to design a process are very different to the skills to undertake one. A lot of organisations make the mistake of getting operational staff to design and implement processes and systems. Involve them of course but it is a very different skill set. Use people that have done it before and love a challenge, those people usually get bored in an operations role and you end up paying too much for someone with those skills to do process work the rest of the time.

We recommend Jira as a tool to document, allocate and track processes but there are other great systems out there.

Next steps? As my mate Rod says, the best way to eat an elephant is one mouthful at a time.

Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash