Hello, humans. It’s been a while since our last entry. It’s been a very very busy first half of the year for us with all the new projects, clients, and even new offerings we’re managing along with, of course, our beloved early adopters. (Thank you!). As we enjoy and experience growth beyond our initial expectations and projections last year, it has become a top priority for us this year (our 3rd) to invest even more in optimizing our operations. Both to maintain and continually improve the quality of our services. For sure.
Working as a Human Agency
As you may have read in a previous story about our identity as a human agency and our processes anchoring on design thinking, we want to make sure that our offerings are really affordable and accessible to the humans we work with. And definitely, that can only be possible if our business is sustainable. Regardless of the fancy ideas or breakthrough tech we talk about, all of these things won’t matter if we’re not running a lean and agile organization.
Doing the Actual Work for Our Work
Personally, I think overly romanticizing a business without actually doing the work and crunching the numbers could be very dangerous. We’ve seen a lot of high-value public companies experience this over the past few years. Like WeWork, Theranos, and so much more. So many tech companies eventually had to do massive layoffs just to continue keeping their lights on. Definitely, we do believe that a company’s mission, vision, and values are very important. But without accompanying it with actual work and anchoring it to reality, those things are just gonna be words written on fancy paper.
Oof. I think I overextended the supposed length of my context-setting. Anyway, the point is: we really believe that fine-tuning operations even at a very early stage of a company is very important to ensure sustainability and continuity of a long-term plan. (That’s of course if there were really plans in the first place. *Ehem* WeWork *Ehem* Fyre). That being said, we wanted to share a few things we’re also trying to make sure we have as we build the foundations of our growing company.
As we discussed in another story about Why ERP Implementations Fail, technology alone can’t really solve key issues. Here are 3 P’s We Think are Essential in Any Operations.
The 3 Essential P’s of Work
Policies, Processes, and Procedures. Every Monday, we have a knowledge-sharing session where members of the team provide lightning talks to the team about stuff from their work that can be useful to other divisions or departments. Last time, it was our Chief Dedication Officer, Jillian, who shared her knowledge about the 3Ps. She’s the one who’s also designing and organizing our overall operations + ERP Projects and definitely, without her getting involved during the earliest stages of our company, we wouldn’t have been growing like this. So definitely, we listen to her when she talks about our operations.
So what’s the difference between Policies, Processes, and Procedures?
Essentially, these are usually the sequence of activities and documents a team creates to make sure that the ways of work are clearly defined within the operations. Having these kinds of documents within the team makes it easier to assign tasks with minor supervision whether it be for internal staff or even for external contractors or consultants. It allows a more secure and sustainable means of communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. The 4 C’s of 21st Century Living and Learning.
A policy sets out the strategic direction of the organization. Policies are the rules and regulations of your company. These guidelines are used to ensure consistency and compliance throughout your organization. Policies tell employees the what, who, why, or when behind your business’s operations. Policies tell the employee what’s allowed and what’s not allowed as well as when it might be allowed. More specifically, a policy tells employees:
- What the policy is and its classification
- Who is responsible for completing and enforcing a policy
- Why a policy is required
- When a policy needs to be used and enforced
- Customer Service Policy and Procedure
- Product Development Policy and Procedure
- Performance Review Policies
- Employment Policies
- Purchasing Policies
- Accounting Policy and Procedure
- Information Security Policy and Procedure
- Safeguarding Customer Information Policy and Procedure
It can also be based on the 7 main categories of the 9001:2015 (Quality Management)
- Context of the Organization
- Performance evaluation
The ISO definition of a process is: “A process is a set of inter-related activities that turn inputs into outputs” A process is a big picture look at everything that needs to be done. Think of your processes as your roadmaps for what your employees need to do. With a process, you know:
- Who is responsible for each part of the process
- What needs to be done (overview of complete task)
- In which specific order the tasks need to be completed
the procedure is where you get into the details. Procedures become the detailed instructions
A procedure — also known as Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) — is the step-by-step instructions for each individual task.
Here are the usual SOP formats:
- Step-by-Step Checklists
- Hierarchical Steps
Like any work, optimizing operations start by communicating the intent and objectives of the initiative. Proper discussions trigger cohesive collaboration, enabling critical thinking within the team and enhancing the creativity of the overall output. These 3P’s allow teams to have proper contingencies to make sure no one’s left behind and everyone gets to move forward together.
And of course, with proper Policies, Processes, and Procedures, you can now start automating and systematizing things even more with an all-in-one platform to manage and monitor your business essentials. Check out how ERP Services can help you enhance efficiency and productivity.