Businesses that innovate survive. Technology enables efficient processes and provides what every management team craves – a single, reliable version of the truth.

The world is changing and our customer’s demands and needs are changing too. Sustainability is now a core value that has taken hold in sectors across the economy.

Traditional ways of working do not support these changes and, as with all change, it is companies who stay ahead of curve that will prosper.

Accessing reliable information and having one version of the truth is critical to understand and manage the demands on your business.

Customers and competitors demand more

Impatient customers, eager for a personalised service, won’t wait around whilst your team figures out which spreadsheet their information is saved in.

They won’t wait around while you get your sales system to talk to your production system. And they won’t wait around while you dig out the folder that holds their spare parts list.

But customers will stick around for quality. They will stick around if they get a prompt service and if they’re kept informed and educated.

And they’ll stick around if they don’t have to think about the minutiae, because you’ve got it covered.

Meanwhile competition is fierce. They’re making better products, that last for longer and give more value. Planned obsolescence is now prolonged resilience. Customers demand it.

It feels like somebody out there is ready to eat your lunch, if you give them the chance. One little chink of light, and they’re in.

How fit is your company for the coming year? As the New Year approaches now is a good time to look at your vision, strategy and team operations to see what you might improve.

5 questions to help you shape your vision

A few moment of honest reflection on these questions can help you understand where your business is, and where it could be.

  1. Who are you, where are you going, why do you exist?
  2. What does utopia look like for your business?
  3. What do your customers want? How are their needs changing?
  4. How should you design your business to serve these needs?
  5. How far can you go?

Deciding on where you’re going is a simple enough idea, and its something your team can develop together, and then get behind.

Can your team deliver your strategy?

Strategy comes from vision. What skills do you need to achieve this vision? Which do you lack? Different people will own parts of your strategy. An honest review of the abilities and gaps in your team will reveal a primary objective.

Get the right skills on board to achieve the vision. Train up, or recruit in. Mentorship, Non-executive directors, there are various ways to develop. But focus on the key skills you need now to get your strategy started.

How does your team operate?

A team focused on a common goal, needs a common language. Here are some essential facts everyone in your company should know:

  1. What your business is, how you make money, what your biggest costs are
  2. What you sell
  3. Who your customers are segments, roles, functions.

Share this language across the business.

In addition, consider the following questions about how you operate:

  1. How do you actually do things?
  2. Where are the problems?
  3. What frustrates customers?
  4. What slows the business down?
  5. Where do you waste time and resources?
  6. How do you measure performance?

Has thinking about your business made you want to improve how you manage it? Read our articles below to see how you can apply your new insights in 2015.

Want to know how Flowlens can help you improve your business efficiency? Download our ebook on How to improve your processes and reduce waste.

Most business leaders crave a single, reliable version of the truth. This, above all else, gives confidence and decision making capability. Taking control of overblown, spaghetti-like business processes is easier than you think.

How most business processes are created

Most businesses, after a certain amount of trial, error, fire fighting and furrowed brows, figure out their processes.

They understand ‘how we do things around here’, and pretty soon these processes become part of the furniture, passed on to new recruits.

These processes probably started out on paper, post-it notes and whiteboards, before eventually someone with a copy of Access or Excel decides to tighten things up.

The process and the system became one, and everyone got their job done.

For a while at least.

Everyone has their own way of doing things

Each department has its own version of this story, and eventually, the whole company has a fairly good idea of how they actually get things done.

Unfortunately, these outcomes have usually been arrived at by any means necessary.

Software must hold its hands up as the choices made are a major part of this misfortune. All too often different departments opt for different means at their disposal for capturing and processing data.

These proud, shiny creations, either a combination of spreadsheets, or a fancier formation of customised off the shelf software, get the job done.

More or less.

Duplicated processes cause confusion

There are the work arounds, the exceptions to the rule, the occasional mistaken deletion, or inappropriate forward of an email attachment.

And this happens in each area of the business, until you’ve got:

  • five customer databases
  • an email database
  • an online asset register
  • an offline asset register
  • 3 copies of your Bill of Materials
  • not enough software licenses to go round
  • very frustrated customers

So we thought we’d solve this really big problem.

How to get a single version of the truth (that’s affordable)

User friendly social networking websites and mobile apps have taught us to expect software that actually works.

Companies understand the problem of user adoption, and they also know that they must get the whole team on board. Poor customer performance will be penalised through social channels and buying decisions.

As it should be.

Flowlens can help you improve your business efficiency. Download our ebook How to improve your processes and reduce waste to find out how.

Does our description of spreadsheet hell ring true with you? How to select a CRM your business

If you have growth ambitions for your business, register now to learn how to unlock the information in your business.

Spreadsheets are the most common way of managing information in businesses. They’re quick to create, easy to share and offer endless possibilities. And, when you’re not looking, they multiply, like weeds! Whenever there’s a new process (or problem!) the automatic response is to create a spreadsheet to deal with it.

How you manage the flow of information in your business directly influences your prospects for growth and profitability. Siloed software systems are not a solution for businesses that have ambitions for growth. Spreadsheets are not a solution for customer-centric companies who want to blow their competition out of the water. These are not solutions for management teams who need real-time information about costs, productivity and what is coming down the line in near term.

This is not an IT problem. This is about how you work.

But where do I start? I hear your say…

Our seminar will help you gain an understanding of the information flow (or blockage) in your business:

  • why you can’t get reports quickly
  • why errors occur in production- why customers get inaccurate delivery dates
  • why jobs take longer than expected
  • why people spend more time with paperwork than serving customers

Register now to secure your place.We’ll have simple practical advice and real world examples from working with manufacturers such as Survitec Group, CDE Global, Kiverco, Truform and more.