Industrialise – Change Your Systems, Change Your Results

I want to talk to you today about why you should be “industrialising” your systems.

Now you may well be thinking, what does Martin mean by industrialising your systems! What I mean is how you can put something together that’s repeatable, it’s consistent, and you know what’s going to get delivered. Also, importantly, when somebody else gets hold of that process and their usage and their results match your expectations.

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The key to success with much in business is creating systems where you don’t have to do all the work yourself. To be able to do that you’ve got to be able to trust that somebody else can do the work that needs to be done.  And they do it the way you want it to be done.  Hopefully, in some cases, they can devise a system that works even better than the one that you were thinking of.

Whoever creates the system or process,  you must have all the right elements of control so that you can have the confidence that what is going to come back to you is what you expect. Some managers and business owners I see unfortunately tend to have the approach of just abdicating their responsibility.

Rather than putting in sound systems and processes that are ‘industrialised’, with measurable parameters, what they do instead is throw information to somebody else and expect them to catch it, and do the right thing with it. Without telling them what the right thing is, or what the results should be.

The one thing I find to be true is that most people want to do a good job. People don’t set out to do a lousy job.  But if you don’t put guidelines and measurables around your systems and processes, you frequently end up in a position where they may deliver something back to you that you weren’t expecting. Is that their fault? Or is that yours?

So, by defining your systems, your processes and your frameworks thereby “industrialising” what you have, you’re able to easily take your ideas and pass them to others in your team.  And the information that you get back will be correct. Done well it’s like your team can mind-read what you are thinking, and that’s a fantastic win-win situation. Industrialising means the job will get done probably, and to a very high standard. It also means that the results will meet your expectations every time.

There are some excellent examples of these principals, and one stands out for me – McDonald’s.

When Ray Kroc devised McDonald’s, he could have just stuck with a single restaurant, and it would have been a fantastic success. Ray Kroc made a good burger and lots of people wanted to buy them. We know it was a success because there are now many hundreds of thousands of these restaurants around the world today. Everybody is still buying the same burger, to the same kind of formula and here’s the critical thing.

What he did was take his process for building his burger, producing the fries, developing a service around its delivery and he processed and formalised every single thing, so it was repeatable and consistent.  In other words – he industrialised! So today everyone knows how long it takes to cook those burgers. Where the raw materials come from, how the staff get trained and perform. By doing this, he created a repeatable model, so that no matter where you are in the world, you’ll get a very similar experience when you go into a McDonald’s restaurant.  And whether you like McDonald’s or not, it’s formula for success is brilliant.

Industrialising in this way is something you should consider implementing in your organisation. Now I’m not advising that you go out and try and replicate the McDonald’s system, because the McDonald’s method works for a burger restaurant, and if you’re another burger restaurant, some parts of it might work for you. However, if you’re a consulting firm or an electrician, or you’re an accounting firm or some other organisation that particular system built for making and selling burgers will probably not help you solve your specific problems.

You’ve got to be able to look at how you can create your system and processes to make sure that what you’ve got is something you can document and pass down to each member of your team. So they can then give a consistent, reliable and profitable service to your clients.

I want to leave you with this thought.  If you don’t make your solutions repeatable, then you’re in a position where you don’t know what the outcomes are going to be!