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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Seek and You Shall Find
weeks article was the first in a series of three brought to you by
Live Chat. The series discusses a way to assess the performance of a
business. The model is a simple one, asking that management STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN. In the first article the focus was on STOP,
meaning that to begin the assessment of your business the first step is
to stop, that is, set aside the time to do the assessment. . Once your
business dedicates the time the next step is equally simple, it is to LOOK and this is what this second article will explain in detail.
More than the stop and listen components of this model LOOK
is the most active part of the process. It is the Looking at your
business that important details will surface. Hopefully, some of these
details will include areas of the business that have been overlooked or
maybe even neglected.
One of the benefits of the STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN
model is that this process works for the small business to larger ones.
The chart information may need to be modified depending on the size of
the business, but the ideas are the same for any business.
to look for? Begin with a flow chart; actually two flow charts. The
first charts how staff is distributed. This can be either by department
or by assigned tasks. The second chart is to map out the flow of your
product. It should include its course from its entry in the front door
until it leaves through the back door.
is best if those on the team are assigned to work on one of the two
charts. It is even better if they are assigned to a chart that they
would be least familiar with. Each of the two teams is given their
assignment as well as a deadline for its presentation to the group.
Make sure they understand that they are covering new groundwork.
final word that can be threatening to some or be unclear to others is
this: in all reporting honesty must be the rule. In order to gain the
quality of information needed, there must be a sense that there will be
Here are some suggestions for each flowchart:
Chart 1: Staff Distribution:
- Every staff members time is accounted for.
- Hours per week spent at the job site.
- What areas of the business does each one work in?
- What percentage of their time is spent doing their primary assignment(s)?
- Are there areas that are understaffed?
- Are there areas that are overstaffed?
Chart 2: Product Flow:
- How does the product reach the front door?
- What is delivered, i.e., large assortment of parts for assembly, only a few, or is the product already assembled?
- What is the firms goal for the product? Drop shipment, new labeling, assembly, packaging or other?
- How is this goal met? What is the process?
- How is quality control maintained and customer service delivered?
- What is the process for getting the finished product out the back door and to the customer?
team should be urged to collect whatever collateral information is
necessary to assure the accuracy of their data. Once each team has
finalized its chart it is then time for the final step: LISTEN! This will be the focus of the next article brought to you courtesy of Live Chat.