should you scale for growth this year?

Should You Scale for Growth This Year?

In Culture of Quality by Frances DonnellyLeave a Comment

should you scale for growth this year?

You will encounter operational and procedural challenges that are complex, varied, and cross functional when your business starts to expand. Your teams will need to see beyond the frenzy of increased business volumes to remain aware of the risks they face. This may include costs exceeding revenue, an outcome that occurs most frequently when we find that our processes are not well tuned to scale.

What does a process not well-tuned to scale look like? Here are a few examples from our experiences.

Example 1: Customer Service Errors

The need to add new customer records and establish accurate credit limits affects sales across the board. Consider the specific activities required in your organization to set up a new customer account. You incur the cost of such an effort at the time the customer places a first order. However, an error in setting up the account or in fulfilling the first order creates risks of not gaining a return on the setup investment should the customer not come back. The best way to minimize these risks is to study your setup and shipping processes, highlighting the decision points where incomplete or inaccurate information can slip by. Then, minimize the opportunity for such errors by establishing appropriate procedures.

Example 2: Certificates of Analysis Processing Errors

Chemical and other manufacturers are often required to provide certificates of analysis with every shipment. If the processes to support collection, recording and reporting of that data are spreadsheet or paper-based, the risks that those processes will fail to execute in a timely manner when business volumes increase are significant. Without the documents, there is a risk the customer will reject delivery or refuse to store products on site. This can turn into a cost for you if you have to return the product or even pay for alternative last minute storage.

To ensure such unanticipated costs don’t affect your bottom line you will need to evaluate your processes. Find the potential for errors that can prevent timely availability of documentation. You may discover your errors occur because access to quality control data is too restrictive or that manual control for releasing and holding lots does not provide timely visibility. In these cases automating procedures with modules from Quality Essentials Suite improves scalability.

Avoiding Hiccups and Havoc

These examples are from thousands of operational challenges with outcomes ranging from hiccups to havoc. Formal quality improvement programs like Six Sigma, HACCP, ISO, Lean Manufacturing and TQM offer tools that can be helpful in your efforts to analyze and locate the errors that hinder successful scaling of your operations.

You can learn more about how useful it is to examine the scalability of your current processes in the article “Great Growth: Can you Scale?” found in the Winter 2015 Issue of GPOptimizer magazine.

Do you have a great story about successful scaling for growth? Share it with us! We would love to post it and encourage others with your success.

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