The need for sound processes increases with the size of a business. Businesses with consistent and congruent processes are able to provide excellent customer service, deliver high quality products and services, and they have a strong foundation for profitable growth.
From a startup to a multi-national enterprise, effective processes play a crucial role in the expedient execution of work.
In a startup or a small business, the business owner and a handful of employees usually wear multiple hats. The focus at this stage of the business is on marketing and sales to build traction. A person would complete the required work as quickly as possible based on his experience and knowledge. Another person might do the same work differently. Consistency is not a big concern as long as the work is done. Over time, a few people become the ‘go to’ experts when issues arise. The success of the business hinges on their availability to manage problems. Processes exist in an adhoc fashion, just adequate to get things done.
As the business swings into a growth phase, operations roll into high gear. The business hires more employees to handle the greater volume of work. The handful of key experts could no longer be available whenever they are needed.
There are two issues here.
First, without proper processes in place or standard operating procedures, it is difficult to delegate duties.... without proper processes in place or standard operating procedures, it is difficult to delegate duties. Click To Tweet
Second, adhoc processes not only make the work confusing for the larger employee pool, frustrations build over time. Debates happen often, leading to bottlenecks and silo thinking.
Subsequently, the business resorts to hire more people. Nonetheless, operations is in a state of flux. The lack of trust in management and low employee commitment don’t bold well in a business environment with intense competition for talent.
For a large enterprise, inconsistent processes across departments and business units could turn into major hurdles for business transformation. As most transformations involve new technology adoption, a lot more effort would be necessary when there is little standardization in processes.
Poor processes in a large enterprise lead to inconsistent customer experiences which puts a damper on repeat business. In addition, incongruent processes in dealing with suppliers also lead to high overhead relating to administration and exceptions handling.
Sound processes are the building blocks for a solid business operation. Failure to invest in establishing streamlined processes will put the business in peril. The impacts and costly consequences usually amplify quickly as the business evolves.