Every year when the calendar starts to wind down, many of us start to reflect on the past year and think about ways to improve ourselves. These resolutions may be as simple as "I want to spend more time with the family". Some may be financial resolutions, "I want to save more or focus on health, I will exercise more". All worthwhile personal goals.
You can also set New Year's resolutions for your business, your department or even your job, "I want to improve customer service, I will sell more or possibly I will cut expenses". Again, all worthwhile personal goals.
Resolutions Need Definition
From my experience, resolutions or goals are great, but if they aren't well-defined, it's difficult to know if you hit them or not. If they aren't well-defined, then how do you know if you reached that goal or kept that resolution? Spending more time with family...is that one hour a day, a week, a year? Selling more...does that mean one more deal a year and you're good or is it one more sale each month or larger sales dollars with the same number of deals?
Resolutions Need to Be Realistic and Measurable
Well-defined is good, but realistic is even better. I remember setting a resolution that I was going to hit the gym every day. Well, I travel frequently and know when I'm getting up for a 5am flight, that spending an hour in the hotel gym at 7pm is not a likely scenario. Yes, I know others do it, but I know my limits and will power. Had I set a slightly more realistic goal of three or four days a week, maybe I would have stuck with it more than a few weeks.
The same holds true in business. If the goal is too unrealistic, it will be abandoned quickly. So, instead of doubling sales in a year, maybe a 10% increase each quarter is more realistic. Instead of 100% utilization, maybe 80% or 85% is more realistic. If you have a lofty resolution for the year, the big increase or decrease in that goal might seem overwhelming, but if you break it down by quarter or month, the resolution might be more attainable.
What Can a Business Resolve to Do?
Many of the manufacturers we work with already have multiple metrics they are tracking. These may be utilization, production performance vs standard rate percent, on-time shipping, bookings dollars and or quantities, sales number...the list goes on. The fact that they are tracking them means they are measurable. And improving things, even a little, is the whole reason for the resolutions.
Where Do You Start?
We work with many manufacturers and businesses. Some are looking for a new ERP, which we sell and support Infor VISUAL and Infor CSI. Selecting new ERP is a big resolution itself. If you already have an ERP, sometimes it's difficult to know where to start. Many of our customers ask us for help defining the measurables or help with refining the process to improve those measurables. We do business assessments where we go onsite and investigate the entire business or focus on a few selected areas and provide a report that identifies areas where that business can improve. An example from our assessment would be how data and documentation flows from the office to the shop floor causing days of unneeded delays. We have identified procedures and processes that help trim those days down and improve on-time delivery.The new year is a clean slate. Now is the time to identify what you want to improve and how you want to measure it. And, if you're stuck on the what or the how, we are here to help.