During these challenging times, it can be comforting to find normalcy in your business and day to day life. One way to accomplish this, and to set yourself up for a successful future, is to implement systems that will allow your business and co-workers to work both productively and efficiently. You may be occupied with what’s going to happen in the immediate future; however, finding ways to systematize your work can be useful for your professional and personal life. To begin, you’ll want to look over your day to day tasks and determine which jobs will function best as a repeating system. From there, figure out how to create those systems by recognizing the overall goal of the task. Lastly, we provide three examples of how abc Window Cleaning Supply use systems to streamline our efficiency and productivity.
What Tasks Can Be Systematized?
Not every task performed at work can be systematized. We must first prioritize tasks by separating them into four categories; must have, should have, could have, would have. Once we can decipher which tasks are “must-haves” and possibly “should haves” to the functioning of the business, we can begin to hone in on what has to be done in order to complete the tasks. To find the tasks that can be systemized, ask yourself these three questions about each of the tasks in your “must-have” and “should-have” pools.
- Is it a recurring task?
Are you going to be doing this task again in a week? A month? Later this week? If this task is essential and takes valuable time to complete, it may be worth creating a system so that when it does come around again, completion can be streamlined.
2. Small or Large Changes Each Time?
If the recurring task changes little each time – perhaps a due date, an image, or a URL – it may be appropriate to create a system. If the task requires all new content or involves extensive time to edit and change, the task may not be suitable for a “complete system” (a complete system is a set systems used in conjunction to complete a task. Alternatively, a system itself is a group of smaller steps that achieve aspects of a task, but not the whole task itself).
3. Are the Results the Same?
To create a system for a task, the overall goal of the task must remain the same. An excellent example of this is a tracking email. When you order from abc and your order is shipped, an automatic email is sent to the customer with their tracking number and relevant information. The result we are looking for is to give the customer her or his tracking number.
Create the System
What remains are tasks that can be completely systematized. The next step is to figure out how you can create a complete system around each of these tasks. Unfortunately, there is no blanket answer for what is needed, but here are some examples that can help.
- If it’s a document or an email, can you create a template? This could be a header, footer, layout, or all of the above. It will help you to start every document or email with cohesive visual branding and save you time. At abc, we say, “put the time up front to create the system, and it’ll take no time later.”
- Can a set of instructions be written down to produce consistent results with any employee? Some tasks already have systems created around them. Instead, it is a matter or writing those systems down, that will ensure the consistent solution.
- Is it a matter of having the same workspace or tools each time?
Whatever your answer, determine what efforts you can use to create systems that can be used again in the future. Once you have perfected the system itself, write down each step, no matter who creates or performs it. This alleviates questions, incorrect order of process, and misinformation.
Examples of abc Systems
abc Window Cleaning Supply has set into place many such systems for our own efficiency and organization. Between two locations and many employees handling orders, everyone must be doing the same thing to give our customers a consistent experience.
An example of this is how we handle shipping packages. To keep packages consistent, we’ve implemented a variety of policies, technologies, and physical changes. We produced a written guide to our shipping process, which is available to every one of our staff. Written procedures are critical to systems! Shorthand guides are posted in hard copy near shipping stations, and long-form digital copies are available through shared documents. These guides cover preparing orders ready for the warehouse, double-checking orders, packing and shipping, and checks for after the orders have shipped. With everything written down, the system is fully realized, and orders are successfully shipped. With multiple warehouses, we have set up the physical stations to be as similar as possible. Any order packer in C.O. or N.C. could use any station and have access to the same materials in roughly the same places. Customers likely can’t tell which location or packer was responsible for their package. We also keep bin locations consistent so that order pullers can use an efficient path through the warehouse while they pick orders.
Another example is administration focused. We offer Wash and Learn WaterFed® demos, where we discuss the ins-and-outs of WaterFed® and follow up with a hands-on demo where those in attendance get to test the gear and poles. To invite people (specific to the location of the event), we’ve created an invite template in our email software. From one invite to the next, we spend very little time editing details, and in turn, send out professional, consistent invites for each event.
No matter what you decide to systematize, recurring tasks offer the occasion for streamlined efficiency and productivity. Timely decisions can be made to help increase your brand’s visual consistency in the form of system creations. If you begin the process, and it seems like you’re taking more time to create the system than to complete the task, consider how long you take repeating that task, having to start from the beginning each time. Systems will set your business up to be organized and can help everything run smoother. If you or your business have any systems that work for you, add them in the comment section below.