Survive to Thrive: Phase II (Part B)

Opportunity #6: Systems & Processes: Structural Changes to Support New Channels, Markets, Delivery, and Scaling

We’ve pointed out several opportunities for growth and progress in this Survive to Thrive series, and Opportunities #3-5 specifically helped you prepare a new plan for your business during these critical times. But we also have to ask – what organizational systems and processes will need to change to support these new plans?

As we’ve worked through Scaling Products & Packaging, and Markets & Channels, we’ve carefully considered how best to align your business with new and emerging demand. Now, we need to peel back the layers of how you have been producing your products or services and running your business to ensure that your infrastructure ­– such as people, systems and processes – can support the recommended shifts. Expanding quickly on a foundation you’ve outgrown, or one that no longer fits, jeopardizes revenue gains and can be costly to fix as you are trying to regrow. Our message: get in front of your future infrastructure needs before something goes awry.

Seeking Efficiencies

Growth by its nature is inefficient. Our first step is to Assess your current operations to determine if there are any changes to improve operational efficiency and help achieve your new goals. How can you do this faster, better, and smarter to thrive? It is also vital to expose any cracks in your systems and processes that might have hovered below the surface before the economic downturn. We take a close look at if you are doing the right things with the best people and the necessary skills.

When we move on to Design, it is time to tune your support strategies to meet the needs of your newly tailored plans. If we worked together to identify a 3x growth opportunity that you plan to capitalize on, what changes to roles and responsibilities must be made to support this strategy? Put simply, does the mix of who is doing what and when need to change? A mistake many organizations make at this point of recovery is continuing with roles that have been made redundant or collapsed, and this constrains growth because it is operating from a recessionary mindset.

After pivoting or innovating in response to opportunities in the marketplace, you also need to reconsider your measurement tools to Evaluate effectiveness. We’ll help you determine the most relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – be it your inventory turnover, sales conversion ratio, delivery days to client, percentage of product returns, etc. – to monitor along your journey to accelerated growth. We also evaluate any repetitive areas that might enable the organization to scale while continuously fine-tuning people, processes, and systems to create even greater efficiencies.

Strategic Considerations

Several strategic considerations factor into this kind of design thinking. When we look at systems through the lens of scaling, we aim to create a systematized process to launch and bring new products to market in a way that communicates the organization’s confidence and efficacy in delivering new ideas to clients. This can be broken down into key areas including people, processes, systems, channels, products, and brand architecture to create sales efficiencies and ultimately increase your business profits.

We outline this strategy in a roadmap that starts with the future in mind then works backwards to guide strategy decisions. You can think of it like a coach who is tasked with leading a football team to victory. To succeed against opponents, the coach must devise an overall game plan that relies on inputs from a playbook executed by individual player contributions. All three layers operate systematically to determine the team’s performance, and your business is no different.

How the Process Leads to Improvement

A retail establishment with only a single storefront was looking to scale through organic growth. Its vision was to expand to 15 locations, and it needed to start making decisions today that would support its future needs. We confronted four primary considerations with senior management, including technology, staffing, products, and positioning. 

With their technology platforms, we had to evaluate if current systems would be sufficient to support an organization five times its current size. Regional management and sales officers would be required to service ever-growing geographical areas and customers, and these would need to be sourced at precise points. We initiated a process to rethink what future customers would be expecting from a larger organization in terms of product offerings. Finally, we reviewed the fundamental positioning as the business looked to move from serving the lower end of the market into the lower mid-market.

By working through our Assess-Design-Evaluate methodology, we reviewed the existing infrastructure and created plans to support the future business model. Now is the time to re-tool your organizational foundation to support your next phase of growth.

Work with Assay to review the systems and processes that need to be re-designed to deliver your future vision. Contact Adrian Bray, Co-Founder/COO here or at 415-906-6070 x210.

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