Tag Archives: SOP

How Do You Implement a Process Change? Six Suggestions

Situation: The CEO of a service company is concerned about lost income from uncaptured billing. He has identified the cause – failure to capture extra hours that haven’t been billed – but is struggling to get employees to monitor this more effectively. How do you implement a process change?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • The group presented two options for growth: bring in experienced outside people to develop additional systems to run the company, or a hybrid model using internal resources, augmented with outside expertise.
  • Bring in Experienced Outside Resources: Hire an experienced outsider with a track record in your industry to design and implement the needed systems.
    • Pros for this solution: the outsider will bring a fresh vision and new energy, plus the experience and know-how to make the desired changes.
    • Cons: impact on current business culture. This may generate resentment among employees who can no longer make decisions on the spot and may remove a path to management for existing staff. Possible negative impact on customers who receive larger bills due to change orders.
  • Hybrid Model: Outside person creates model and trains employees to implement it, then monitors the system and progress long-term. The key is to change expectations and behavior within the team.
    • Pros for this solution: more opportunity for current employee participation; involves employees in the design of the system, providing better buy-in to the solution.
    • Cons: as with any change, this won’t provide the full expected return. Just the fact that things are being changed impacts the efficiency of implementation. Unanticipated blocks and resistance may hinder progress – don’t be surprised by this, it is predictable.
  • Implement SOPs that facilitate rapid response to change orders – starting now and with whichever option is chosen.
  • Generate a pick list of all possible change orders with pre-calculated costs to guide employee choices and keep customers informed.
  • Whatever solution is chosen, be sure to communicate frequently and consistently with employees to facilitate the change.

How Do You Optimize Quality Improvement? Six Suggestions

Situation: A company’s reputation is based on quality of work. The CEO notes that occasionally they have mishaps due to suboptimal documentation. They are considering a concerted quality effort.  Based on your experience, would you do this whether or not you were bound by ISO requirements? If so, would you hire an outside consultant to guide your efforts? How do you optimize quality improvement?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Some companies have successfully used ISO to force documentation. ISO provides a structure to enforce keeping the company and employees diligent and honest.
  • Other companies have used standard operating procedures (SOPs) for field as well as internal functions to speed completion of documentation and accelerate invoicing. These companies may or may not have ISO requirements.
  • One company tried to go cheap – implementing process improvement without a qualified consultant. While the effort was eventually successful, it took way too much time and money. From this experience, they recommend hiring someone who is experienced and who already has a template to guide the process.
  • To test the experience of an outside consultant, start with a small project to get the company accustomed to the process and to evaluate the consultant’s efficacy.
  • If the choice is to work on this yourself with your employees, start by documenting what happens correctly. Once you have done this, work on improvements to address problem areas.
  • This is not a simple exercise – plan for it and use the right inside or outside person to guide the process.