Systems and automation will maximise the productivity and profitability of your business, like nothing else.
An initial misconception many business owners have, when it comes to systemising and automating aspects of their business, goes something like this…
“That won’t work for our business. We deliver a product/service with too many options. Adding automation or systems will restrict our ability to deliver for our customers.”
Whilst understandable, it is completely incorrect.
I’ll give you two examples:
Porsche 911 and Kitchens.
The Porsche 911 comes with 22 engine options and you can have it in any colour you like. This is not Henry Ford’s “Any colour as long as it is black”, but really, any colour you like.
Porsche sold 32,000 911s in 2017. That equates to building and delivering 615 cars every week in 2017.
Two things can be gleaned from this:
- Systems do not constrain your ability to deliver for your customer;
- Without their advanced systems and processes, Porsche could not deliver 615 911 cars a week.
Keep in mind Porsche also sold 97,000 Macan models in the same year – another 1,865 cars built and delivered every week in 2017.
The reality is, this all comes down to good planning, and creating the required systems in order to reach business goals.
Porsche has one massive advantage… they design and build their cars, and are able to create high-spec factories and production lines to help deliver the number of cars they sell.
What if you work in an environment where, on the face of it, every time you deliver your product, it is a custom solution?
This is the perception when it comes to something like the design and installation of kitchens. Specifically, mass produced kitchens.
It might seem like every design and installation is unique and custom, but this is not really the case.
Every domestic kitchen you’ve ever walked into consists of the same fundamental items:
Base Units, Wall Units, Doors, Drawers, Worktops, Oven and Hob, Fridge, Sink, Electrics and Plumbing.
That’s it, really.
Add the fact that units tend to come in set shapes and dimensions, and you are painting by numbers. In the UK, base units tend to come in 300mm, 400mm, 600mm and 1,000mm widths, and they are all the same height and depth.
Add in a couple of options for corner units and you have everything you need.
This uniformity means you can create a very simple process around kitchen design and installation:
- Design consultation
- Site visit
- Final design
- Strip out existing and room prep
- Plumbing & Electrics first fix
- Base units & Wall units (Carcass only)
- Tiling and Decorating
- Doors and Drawers
- Electrics and Plumbing second fix
- Final decoration and snagging
Twelve steps to go through with every single kitchen installation. If you were to do nothing more detailed than create a system to track the progress for each of these steps, you’d improve the productivity, capacity and profitability of the business.
Most trades based businesses have zero systems and processes, which is why it always seems so chaotic from the customer’s perspective.
What is your business? Where are the opportunities?
Start working on your systems and processes by following these three simple steps:
- What needs to happen for every customer you sell to? Map this out as mile-stones for every project or sale – like the 12 steps for Kitchens above;
- What are your per-product exceptions? Are there key differences based on what a client has purchased? In the Kitchen example, you might need to order the different items from different suppliers, based on the kitchen model, but the milestone is still to order the units;
- Stop looking at every sale or job or project as a custom solution. Identify and systemise as much of the shared aspects as possible.
Bonus: If you get stuck, schedule a call with me. I’d be happy to talk you through some of the options and help you see the opportunities.
With the right systems and automation in your business, you’ll enjoy:
- Increased Capacity
- Increased Profitability
- Increased Quality of Delivery
Go make it so.
You and your team will wonder how you ever managed without it!
Author: Pieter De Villiers
Pieter K de Villiers is slightly obsessed with systems. The systems and process automation he builds for small businesses are transformative, to say the least. Pieter is a Co-Founder of Blue Peg Group and the Amazon best-selling author of “Barefoot Business: 3 key systems to attract more leads, win more sales and delight more customers without your business killing you”.