When it comes to implementing business excellence, SMEs/SMBs are not just small versions of large businesses. They require a much simpler and more direct ‘hands-on’ way of implementing excellence for maximum return on investment.
The traditional large company approach of engaging external management consultants to facilitate comprehensive implementation is simply not feasible for most SMEs/SMBs. And so it is not surprising that less than about 1% of SMEs/SMBs globally are following that traditional expensive route. Unfortunately, the remaining 99% are not realising the immense net benefits of properly implementing business excellence. A new, much more cost-effective approach is sorely needed.
Therefore, the pragmatic My Business Excellence® (MBE) approach reflects these four imperatives for success…
- Simplify Everything (but not too much)
- Integrate Everything (with a common language and linked concepts)
- Sequence Everything (in the right logical order)
- Repeat 1-3 above (ongoing)
The MBE Platform provides detailed supporting instructions and augments our ongoing support for your implementation and results in massive financial Net benefits.
Arguably, the most important Prerequisite is Process Design & Improvement. Since all work is done through processes, this is an essential competency for any SME/SMB wishing to realise business excellence.
You begin by agreeing all your Key Processes and depicting them as a 1-page ‘Process Model’ of your entire business operation.
With Customer Delight as the fundamental driver of everything, every Key Process needs to be improved continuously plus completely ‘reengineered’ every 7 years or so. This ensures that no Key Process is ever allowed to get more than 7 years out of date. Unsurprisingly, process reengineering usually requires major upgrades to the associated enabling technologies (IT, AI, robotics etc). By this means, you can avoid being blind-sided by disruptive competitors and technologies.
For each Key Process, a willing part-time Process Manager (employee not consultant) sponsors all of their process improvement projects pertinent to their assigned Key Process. These process improvement projects are planned and implemented by small, part-time autonomous teams using the simple techniques provided.
These process improvement projects are of two types…
- Occasional ‘top down’ large Business Process Reengineering projects
- Frequent ‘bottom up’ small Fast Process Improvement projects that are implemented on a quarter by quarter basis
Combined, these process improvement projects generate most of the huge Net benefits of business excellence.
The second most important Prerequisite in the sequence is Shared Strategic Direction. Sharing is essential to align the efforts of all employees in pursuing the business Vision and in delivering the strategic Objectives.
Key employees lead small, cross-functional teams to deliver each Strategic Objective in full via quarterly projects identified and sponsored by each Process Manager. The 1-page Strategic Plan is reviewed by the Management Team every month to keep it current.
The third Prerequisite in the sequence is Performance Measurement & Feedback. There are only two types of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for your business as a whole…
- KPIs for the operational health of each Key Process. These show how well you are RUNNING your business.
- KPIs for the delivery of each Strategic Objective. These show how well you are CHANGING you business.
Via these KPIs, the My Business Excellence platform enables you to track your business performance visually every month and hence trigger corrective action if and when necessary.
The fourth Prerequisite in the sequence is Knowledge Capture & Leverage. This is crucial today because business assets have become more knowledge-based and need to be shared. And since all work is done through processes, employees need the best available knowledge ‘on tap’ to execute their job processes brilliantly!
And so the idea is to capture the latest knowledge in digital form, and then attach it to individual process steps to build progressively your graphical Quality Management System (QMS). Your QMS thus becomes the repository for your organisation’s best practices. A graphical QMS is of course far better for training and recall purposes than a traditional text-based QMS. The MBE platform provides detailed instructions for how to do this effectively at the lowest possible cost.
The fifth and final Prerequisite in the sequence is Leadership & Management of CHANGE. Leadership is emotional and Management is clinical. With poor Leadership, you will lose your best people. With poor Management (e.g. for management of cash), financial collapse may be triggered. You need a healthy balance of leadership and management to ensure optimal business performance.
Although this is listed here as the fifth Prerequisite, it actually needs to ‘overlap’ all four preceding Prerequisites. The ability top lead and manage change needs to be ‘built in’ to everything that happens with implementation of the MBE approach to excellence. By the time you get to this fifth Prerequisite for the first time (well within Year 1), you and your people will already be quite adept at leading and managing change. Therefore, in this final Prerequisite, the focus moves to the more advanced aspects of leading and managing change, including how to sustain a continuous improvement culture.
Key to this is for the management team to have (or develop) a collective leadership style which encourages employees to be empowered by working in small autonomous project teams.
Talk to an advisor about the right steps for your business.
You have much to gain by implementing business excellence via this simple low cost approach tailored to suit the unique characteristics of an SMB/SME.