All Systems Overview

By Christina Suter on Mar 05, 2016 at 07:12 PM in Business Issues

All Systems Overview

Your systems affect you and your business, daily. Do you want more peace in running your business? Pay attention to your systems. I work best with systems, it’s part of the reason I talk about it so often. 

What are the systems in your business?

A system is anything you’re doing that has a sense of process to it, a lot of them are invisible to you, for example, how you train a new employee. How do you order your products? You reorder when you need more, which you know when you go into your closet and see just ten books left.

6 (of 10) core elements in a business:
1. Product
2. Customer Service
3. Employee Management
4. Finance
5. Marketing
6. Time Management

Every one of those components within your business have a system or systems associated with them. Your customer service might seem like just a conversation but it’s still a system. 

Product: Write down what your product is, how you get it and how you deliver it. Is there a physical product? How do you store it? How do you get it to your customer? How do you follow up if you have to repair or replace it?

You have one or more systems in each stage of acquiring your products. If you order your product when you have less than ten left in stock when you check on Mondays, that’s a system.

Once you have the product you stick in on the shelf, but how much do you order? Do you order enough to fill the shelf? Or do you order at the cheapest price point?

If you have someone who emails you or pays for the product online, you receive an email that they’ve ordered. That’s the order fulfillment system and every morning at 9am you look at your fulfillment emails.

When you go to fulfill the order where does the packaging come from? How’d it get there? Who ordered it and when did they order it? How much do they order? Who takes the product to the post office? Do you schedule package pickups? What’s the system or process for returns? Do you pay for the return postage or does the customer? Is there a specific day you do all returns? How do you log all returns? What happens to the returned broken product? Do you send it back to a supplier? Do you just write off the loss or cost?

These are all subsystems within product management. This allows you to understand that everything within your business has a system associated with it.

Why should you care about the systems in your company and what should you do about them?

Are you content or happy with how your business performs? Is your work peaceful? Or is it overwhelming, difficult to manage, or disconcerting?

Figuring out what’s working and not working and what affects their mood and cash flow are what need to be looked into if the latter is true for you. You will get less success and have a less satisfied customer base if your systems have a hitch in them or if you don’t have a system around you that works for you. Systems need to work for the customer, for the basics of the industry, and it needs to work for you. Your systems are natural to you, they’re innate, but that doesn’t mean they’re working or can’t stand to be changed. Highlight anything in the system that isn’t advantageous or that creates a problem for you or your customer. Once you figure that out, your job is to figure out the solution to that.

If you go to the post office daily and it’s inconvenient, challenge that thinking because it’s clearly not working for you or your business. If it takes you too long to mail out your product, or you always have to wait in long lines, what are your alternatives? Say you’re selling your product through Amazon; that means the industry requires that you send your products every day, what’s a solution? A solution could be to expand your delivery options on your website to 3-5 day delivery instead of 1-2 days. Another solution is to arrange for pickup, FedEx, UPS, and the postal service will pick up your labeled, postage paid items. Just because you’ve always done it one ay doesn’t mean you have to keep doing things that way, especially if your system isn’t working best for you. Or, maybe you can change your drop off times to the morning so that you can still pick your kid up from school on time and you can avoid the long, afternoon lines.

If you aren’t good at figuring out a solution or you’ve been doing something one way for so long that you can’t think of any other way to do it. Ask someone else’s opinion, ask a friend to help you, or hire a small business consultant for 10 weeks who can come in and give your systems an overview and offer you alternatives and solutions.

Do you have a way to track each of your systems? How many customers you have, how often they turn over, what’s the seasonality in your business, how much product do you order, etc.? You need statistics; you need to track your work and your products over time. This will show you whether your system is working or not. If you know you used to ship 5 packages a day and now you’re up to 40 you can make the educated decision to call FedEx and schedule weekday pickups.

Your customers will be happier, you will be more at peace, and your bottom line will be positively affected. Slow and ineffective systems mean your business loses money and the perception of your business with your customers suffers.