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If you don't drive your business, you will be driven out of business.
Every business has unique processes, though they all stem from a common goal: To deliver a product or service as consistently, efficiently and profitably as possible. While most business processes start out well-intended, as business evolves, technology changes, products and services are added, and personnel turn over, existing processes begin to develop hiccups, gaps, or simply get lost or diluted in the shuffle.
What once worked every time begins to show its cracks with higher production costs, delays, quality issues, mistakes, and workarounds. Handling exceptions becomes the norm. Frequent rework begins to take a bite out of the bottom line, and soon you’re spending way too much time putting out fires. It’s time for a tune-up.
Business today is more competitive than ever, and customers are more empowered than ever. If you're having trouble delivering consistent quality and service, your potential customers will know about it. Success today, more than ever, depends on consistently achieving and delivering excellent performance while maintaining profits. To do that requires development and documentation of modern processes that ensure the right work is getting done, the right way, with minimal wasted time or materials.
A successful process is only as good as your ability to repeat it. Effective process documentation, including Business Process Mapping (BPM), Workflows, and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), is essential in equipping your resources to deliver excellent results each and every time. Business Process Mapping creates a visual representation of what your business does, establishes the standard to which a business process should be completed and defines how success of the process, and ultimately the business, should be determined. BPM also lays the groundwork for Process Improvement by establishing standards to measure against, and provides a foundation for training new employees with clear communication of expectations.
Iron Isle takes a proven approach to business process mapping that works inclusively with your team. The objective is to map your existing processes, or create new processes that works within the constraints of your business, while optimizing efficiency and improving quality. With the process mapped, we can then create detailed documentation and work instructions, build in monitoring and improvement to every process, and automation where appropriate. Our inclusive and detailed approach speeds process development cycles, improves employee's sense of ownership, and greatly accelerates adoption of standardized processes.
If you can't describe what you are doing as a process, you don't know what you're doing.
For a business to remain successful over time, it will eventually need to change the way it does things. That’s why nearly every top company today embraces an approach with monitoring and continuous improvement baked right into their processes. By adopting a culture of continuous process improvement and workflow optimization, a business can stay a step ahead and at the top of its game.
A study of your existing business processes will help uncover the gap between the results your business is currently producing and what needs to be consistently delivered for success. Analysis can include observation, interviews, documentation review and plenty of number crunching. Whatever tools are employed, the goal is the same: to identify and begin to close the gap in net results while increasing your bottom line.
Iron Isle’s approach to process improvement has bolstered businesses in industries from manufacturing to professional services; allowing them to boost productivity and quality, reduce cycle times and material waste, and reduce top and bottom line costs. Our professionals work closely with our clients to quickly discover the greatest pain points, identify excess steps, root out rework, exceptions, and anything else impeding results. Then, working collaboratively, we quickly re-engineer core processes to enable teams to work smarter and faster, more consistently deliver excellent results. The bottom line? Improved performance, happier customers, and yes, ultimately, an improved bottom line.
Willingness to change is a strength, even if it means plunging part of the company into total confusion for a while.
Work instructions describe, with step-by-step detail, exactly how to complete a task. Work Instructions ensure repetitive tasks are done to a pre-determined standard every time. They also provide an excellent training resource for new employees, or when someone needs to fill in for another role. Work instructions nest under policies, processes, and procedures to provide the most detailed steps for each task.
Where historically work instructions have simply been a written narrative, modern technology enables robust, media rich documentation complete with images and video. Studies have shown that people will retain twice as much information from instructions with images, as compared with plain text.
As with all of our services, Iron Isle Associates takes a proven and inclusive approach to creating Work Instructions for your business. We’ll build out your Work Instructions in a digital platform that enables us to embed rich media, and we’ll work with you to test and revise them to ensure they include just enough detail to get the job done.
The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.
Much of business today is project driven. However, a recent study by the Project Management Institute revealed that nearly half of strategic projects fail to achieve their timeline, budget and quality goals. This huge failure rate has an enormous impact on the effectiveness, productivity and, most importantly, profitability of the business – often eroding profits to nearly zero.
A project sets a new objective for people to achieve on a fixed timeline within a limited budget. A project manager is dedicated to establishing timelines, identifying risks, resolving issues, prioritizing tasks, negotiating conflicts, controlling budgets and, above all, communicating progress up and down the line. Often success lies beyond just having a technically perfect project plan. Success requires selection and application of appropriate project management tools across your entire project portfolio, and the ability to collaboratively and effectively manage change.
Iron Isle incorporates the most appropriate tools and methodologies from the Project Management Institutes PMBOK, Lean Six Sigma, and CAP change management into every project we manage. This breadth of tools allows us to deliver a hybrid solution custom tailored to the needs of the current project or program; a solution that goes beyond cost, time and quality; ensuring alignment to business objectives and achievement of successful outcomes.
Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler.
Every business has repetitive tasks. Some that are simple and frequent, others that are less frequent but more complex. By automating mundane tasks, resources can focus on higher value work. By automating highly complex tasks, systems can be implemented to ensure nothing gets missed. In both cases, automation can prove very effective, saving a tremendous amount of time and money, while ensuring quality and consistency.
Automation frees up you and your team from routine tasks to focus on more creative and strategic endeavors. It produces huge returns, frequently many multiples of the initial investment. And, automating high dollar impact or frequent tasks will show immediate results in increased productivity, cost savings, and profits. In fact even automating just part of a larger procedure can return significant gains.
The resultant high failure rate of loosely managed, poorly implemented programs costs businesses huge sums in lost productivity, opportunity and, ultimately, bottom line profits. Remaining competitive and profitable necessitates taking a careful and controlled approach to program management.
Iron Isle Associates builds automated workflows using a proven set of tools built to connect otherwise disconnected systems. From simple sales processes to complex case filings, if you do it more than twice, it may pay to automate.
Automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency... Automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency.
As a business grows and develops, positions are added, titles are morphed, hierarchy evolves and an organizational structure comes into being. More than likely your current organizational structure wasn’t carefully and systematically planned. Rather, it probably evolved out of years of policies, politics and changing business demands. It can be very hard to spot an organizational structure that isn’t working when you are living in it every day. But, if you are able to step back or view the business with fresh eyes, the signs are often clear…employees aren’t as engaged, decisions made slowly, ideas aren’t executed, and revenue plateaus.
However, despite the operational stagnation a poor organization design can bring, redesign is often intimidating. It can be an emotionally intense, complicated and politically charged. Adding new on top of old never yields good results. The objective is to optimize your people around the strategy of the business. Success requires a perhaps as much art as science.
Iron Isle starts by taking a strategy-driven approach that takes emotion out of the equation, focusing on business strategy and financial realities. We also work with you and your team to identify your existing strengths, untapped employee skills, and both organization and individual goals and objectives. Using a framework that combines these two approaches, we are able to work step-by-step with executives to drill down through the various tradeoffs to determine what will succeed in your unique business environment.
Organizational change is seldom an easy process, but it is manageable. Whether you are confirming and solidifying your existing org chart, making significant changes, or planning for future growth, Iron Isle can help you do it in a way that sticks.
Those who build great organizations make sure they have the right people on the bus and the right people in the key seats.
Whether you need ongoing operations support, specific process development, change management, or assistance with a single project, Iron Isle Associates is here to help.
Please give us a call, or use this form to give us a quick idea of what you need, and we’ll get back to you usually by the next business day.