More People Or A Broken Process?

Marcus Lemonis is a master business turnaround artist and the star of the TV show The Profit. Whenever he sees a broken business, he always looks at one of three things: People, Process, or Product. In a company experiencing growth, it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether a problem is a people and man-power issue or a process issue. Many times in the past, Swift Straw has thrown more people at a process problem, which ended up making the broken process more broken.  

Symptoms of a broken process include: 

1) Unclear expectations of who owns each specific part of the process. There are too many cooks in the kitchen and no one knows who is supposed to grab the burning food off the stove. 

2) The system gets bogged down because of information dependancies. One person can't proceed because they are waiting on information from someone else. 

3) Conventional paper processes can slow a team down by creating more steps than there should be. There are software tools available that make things simpler by eliminating time-consuming tasks such as duplicate data entry and paper work order sheets. Remember that every piece of paper in your process creates an extra step. 

At Swift Straw, we always have a "better, faster, simpler" session when we see a process issue. During these sessions, our team documents each part of the process we are trying to fix. Once we have everything on the table, we ask ourselves how we can make this process better, faster and simpler by moving or eliminating unnecessary tasks or by implementing better tools. Only when we all agree that we have the process down to its most efficient form will we decide whether we need to throw another person into the mix to help. 

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