Do You Need a Management System?

Have you ever wished you had a ‘business manual’ that described how your organisation operates?

Would you like a top level, birds-eye view of how your organisation works?

Welcome to Management Systems!

One of the issues facing a growing business is that suddenly, they realise that the nuts & bolts of ‘how things get done’ are stored in the heads of the people involved. This only comes to light when a key person (or key people) take time off or become ill.

As a business grows in size and structure, new people are hired and more often than not, departmentalised and grouped together based on function.

The needs of customers become more demanding. They may need products and services quicker, in larger volumes, or have specific requirements that aren’t the norm.

This is when we start fire-fighting! Fire-fighting seems to be accepted these days as being ‘what I do’. The role of ‘putting things right’ seeps into our day to day activities and becomes standard.  I’ve never understood people who tell me that the role of managers is to problem-solve. Surely, the role of managers is to prevent problems from happening in the first place?

And because the organisation is a set of departments, we aren’t all working together to achieve the same things. We become blinkered and focus on our department.

Also…..

  • Meeting customer requirements is not done by 1 department alone – it’s done by information flowing through several  departments and people
  • Plans, goals, objectives and targets are only achieved when we work together, not through the efforts of a single department or person
  • Organisations need to improve rather than simply exist if they are to be successful. They also need to understand what to improve.

So, organisations need to seriously think about creating a management system. What are management systems? They ensure an organisation is management systematically! That means that the right things happen without relying on people (the system makes sure it happens).

A system is a series of inter-connected and related business parts that communicate with each other to achieve objectives.

Therefore management systems:

  • Define the structure of the organisation and its purpose
  • Define policies, values, and intent
  • Generate objectives that are meaningful and applicable to the entire organisations
  • Create systems that ensure the organisation meets product, legal/regulatory, customer  and its own requirements
  • Provide a framework to review resources and ensure they are available as required to meet demand
  • Provide a framework to measure product, service, and organisational performance, and then improve it
  • Improve communication and make sure all departments and people are striving to achieve related goals
  • Focus on processes – that is how value is added to meet customer requirements
  •  Enable an organisation to identify problems, resolve them and make sure they don’t happen again
  • Mitigate business risk
  • Demonstrate how the business adds value and provides assurance of its capabilities
  • Attract new business and investment
  • Are based around the P-D-C-A model, where
    • Plan – decide and communicate what we are trying to achieve
    • Do – Utilise resources to implement plans
    • Check – review performance to see if plans were achieved as expected
    • Act – improve performance based on the review carried out in Act

Management systems need to be documented so that they can be communicated and understood by everyone. They need to be tangible and improved when a weakness is found. Simply speaking, a management system might consist of the following:

  • A ‘manual’ or top level document detailing the business system and its parts, and the objectives
  • Business processes clearly detailing how value is added by the business to the customer
  • Process and procedures detailing the support mechanisms (resources, finance, HR etc.)
  • Records that indicate an activity has occurred – forms, spread sheets, etc.

There is huge value in creating your own management system. The act of documenting the business can be the most challenging task you do this year! How difficult can it be to simply document what you do in the business? Don’t be fooled! But by going through the process, you create clarity in how you do business, and by creating the system, you have the foundation for your organisation to get better, achieve whatever it wants to achieve, reduce stress, and be the most profitable it has ever been.

Do you think a management system would be beneficial to your business? Why?

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