Michael Stornelli of myFlo explains the benefits of standardising procedures within a business.
When you think about how you’ve learned field team management, how much of it has been picked up along the way? In building myFLO we drew on a deep knowledge about the core principles in field team management and workflow. And while it’s useful to us, it’s also useful to you.
In a series of articles on these core principles, this first article is about standardisation and its four key benefits – clarity, ease, simplicity and predictability.
Standardising your process is good for you for a number of reasons; it gives you certainty about how the work will be done and the resulting clarity creates simplicity for you and your team.
Standardisation creates ease
Ease happens when you introduce an element of simplicity. The fastest way to do that is to remove uncertainty. This is what standardisation does for your team.
Life shouldn’t be overly difficult. It becomes difficult when a process for doing work is created around how a single person works. Imagine that cascading through a team, and it’s not hard to see why you might suddenly have to deal with a complex web.
There are hundreds of ways of doing a single thing, even the dishes! Recognising this is important. But so is recognising that allowing every person to do the same thing a different way can create problems.
Standardisation creates predictability
A known way of doing a task gives you the ability to predict how long the task will take, if all other things (such as technology up-time) are equal.
Once you can predict work time, it becomes clear how much depends on it. Amongst other things, it can affect scheduling and time-tracking, customer service response time, cash flow and performance indicators.
Performance indicators, in particular, require you to have a standard of some kind. Without it, you can’t measure a baseline. Without a baseline, you don’t know whether or not someone is performing up to standard.
Recruiting and training
In young or very small businesses, it’s common to find an owner who delegates by ‘abdication’. This means that they recruit someone to do a job, and then just let them do it. Their assumption is often that by employing someone for a particular skill, they won’t have to do that job any more. The trouble is, the way to do it may not be documented anywhere.
When you standardise a job, recruiting for a particular job becomes easier: it’s a known quantity. Training is easier, because you know that everyone will be trained to run a process a certain way.
And finally, because you’ve controlled the process, your business is in a better position to deliver quality output.
Financial clarity is easier to achieve when you standardise your processes. It allows you to document and understand the key variables that impact the process, such as time and materials. This helps to remove wastes like waiting time, because you can finally see where you are double-handling things unnecessarily. The clarity of process can provide inspiration inspired to make all of your processes more efficient and really measure how effective your processes are, simply because you’re giving them a standard shape.
Standardising your work processes is the first critical step in creating excellence in field team management and developing a corresponding workflow management solution. Sometimes, the process of finding a solution encourages you to achieve that standardisation more quickly.
This is one of the reasons why myFLO is so flexible. The product grew out of a need to enable standardisation and flexibility. For some organisations, having a system that grows with them is absolutely essential.