Most businesses keep track of income and expenditure so they know if they are profitable, but you need to measure other metrics too. If you don’t measure results, how do you know if what you are doing works?
In part six of this seven-part series, we’re looking closely at evaluation. Just like any area of your business, you don’t have to do everything at once – you can work on it a piece at a time.
1. Conduct regular audits
Internal audits help you identify where improvements can be made in your business. You can detect inefficiencies in your processes and find out directly from your teams how they can be addressed.
An effective audit is about finding good practice, not just bad, and shouldn’t just be viewed as a tick box exercise. Use it as an opportunity to delve into the business operations and talk to employees about what they are doing. By using audits to focus on processes, you’ll get greater value from them.
Our article, Internal Audits: Ditch the Checklists, gives more tips on conducting effective audits.
2. Analyse data
Once you have carried out your audits, look closely at the findings. What did you notice? Where were the inefficiencies? Which processes are working and which need work? What is the data telling you?
Don’t make guesses about what is causing issues – use the data to work out the real problem. Is it a lack of training or inadequate systems? Do you need to revise your processes to make them more efficient? Is your equipment failing?
3. Look for improvement opportunities
There’s always room for improvement, no matter how small. Use data from your audits and feedback from your teams to identify opportunities to improve efficiency or customer experience.
Look at your people, processes and systems. Look at your entire customer journey from first engagement and ordering processes to delivery and follow up. How can you reduce waste, save time or eliminate unnecessary cost?
4. Use data to inform business decisions
Act on the data. If you have identified skills gaps, you need to provide training or recruit to fill those gaps. If your systems are not fit for purpose, you need to invest in systems that are. That means researching suitable options and then planning how to finance the investment and implement the change.
5. Review and refine systems and processes
Your business changes, the needs of your customers' change and external factors (like global pandemics) can cause unexpected disruption. That’s why you need to continually review and refine your systems and processes to ensure they still support the business effectively.
6. Get feedback from employees and stakeholders
Don’t make continuous improvement the job of one person – get employees and stakeholders involved. Look at processes from different perspectives. What works for one department might cause inefficiencies in another.
Ask for feedback and encourage employees to speak up when they have ideas or suggestions for improvement.
7. Get external support
When you are in the midst of your business operations, it can be hard to see where the inefficiencies lie or where improvement opportunities are being missed. Bringing in an external consultant can help you see things from a different point of view and allow you to spot things that may have been previously overlooked.
The Systems Link offers external auditing services to help you understand where improvements can be made. We use ISO methodologies to help businesses grow and thrive.
How ISO 9001 frameworks can improve evaluation processes
You may already be collecting data such as customer feedback, complaints, marketing metrics, wastage and sales, but are you utilising this data? Do you understand your sales cycle? Do you know what your most common complaints are? Are you taking steps to reduce waste?
The ISO frameworks allow you to collect and record the correct data so that you can use it to make better business decisions and:
- Identify areas for improvement
- Eliminate unnecessary processes to increase efficiency
- Refine products or services to maximise profitability
- Invest in the right areas
- Reduce expenditure and increase ROI
Whether you decide to gain ISO certification or not is irrelevant. The important part is getting the systems in place that help you achieve the above.
If you’d like to find out more about how implementing ISO methodology can help you build a world-class business, with or without the certification, then get in touch.