Happy New Year! Could you improve your product or service in 2014? Chances are, it wouldn’t hurt. And if you don’t start looking at ways to improve today, some competitors might well be looking at further improvements that would position their products or services ahead of yours—taking your customers with them in the process.
So how do you get started? First, by establishing the right mindset. Continuous improvement is way of thinking, with processes built on to:
• Constantly assess feedback from your customers for ways to enhance your offering(s);
• Always be monitoring your markets as well as others for new technologies and new contexts that could make your offerings better;
• Relentlessly evaluate how you do things (i.e., your processes) to ensure that they’re adding value to what you offer.
The essence of quality. Some keen business observer once said that the quality of products and services reflect the quality of the organizations that build and deliver them. To that, we might add that the quality of those organizations reflect the quality of their people and processes. Of course, this leads to a syllogism: the quality of products and services reflect the quality of an organization’s people and processes.
Such is the logic behind the world’s quality assurance industry and quality management systems, whose basis is the ISO 9000 standard set forth by the Organization for Standardization (ISO). Following its precepts can lead to a number of compelling benefits, such as:
• Creating more efficient, effective operations
• Reducing waste and increasing productivity
• Increasing profit
• Boosting customer satisfaction, retention and referrals
• Improving employee motivation, morale and retention
Benefits for businesses, small and large. While establishing a formal quality program may seem more suited to larger organizations, small and medium-size businesses can still benefit from its most basic precept: document what you do, and do what you document.
If you’re a sole proprietor, you can carry around in your head the step-by-step procedures of delivering your product or service to your customers. But, as soon as you hire your first employee, you have to communicate those procedures in way consistent with how you do them, or they won’t get done in that way. Then, without documented procedures, the more employees you have, the more chaotic, inefficient and ineffective your organization will become.
No time? No excuse. My dad used to say, “There’s never enough time to do something right, but always enough time to do it over.” In my years in business, that’s rang true much too often. So how do you carve enough time out of a busy schedule to improve your offerings? Start looking at outsourcing activities that aren’t helping add value to your products or services.
One place you could save time is running to the bank and back with your deposits and getting change. For about the price of a large coffee each day at your favorite café, a trained and armed GardaWorld cash messenger in an armored truck can start making your bank runs for you. Depending on your business and transaction volume, this can save you or your people hours each week—time that you can use instead to improve your processes and, ultimately, your products or services.
Not only will you save time, but you’re increasing the safety and security of your business. In effect, having GardaWorld make your bank runs is like having your bank come to you. For more information on these and other time-saving services offered by GardaWorld, visit our website at garda.com/cashservices.