Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Core Business Processes - Know the 4 Ds!

Core Business Processes - Know the 4 Ds!

Many times I am asked "how can I really make a difference in my business?" With a question this open-ended, I often tell clients to focus on their core business processes. Business processes are designed activities that assist you in accomplishing very specific goals. These are the drivers for your company and touch every area from vision and strategy to delivery of products and services.

At the foundation of each of these processes, is the need to focus on customer satisfaction, retention and acquisition. It is important to note that innovation and quick response time are key drivers in the successful rollout and maintenance of each of the 5 core business processes.

The processes are very action oriented, as evidenced by the key words that are found in them. To help you remember them, focus on a few keys words that include develop, deploy, deliver and design. Let's focus on five critical processes that should be in your organization:

1. Develop and Deploy Vision and Strategy

2. Business Development

3. Deliver and Produce Services & Products

4. Market and Sell Products and Services

5. Design and Deploy New Products and Services

Develop and Deploy Vision and Strategy - In the first process, the focus is on developing a company plan and alignment. The process ensures everyone involved in establishing and deploying vision and strategy is heard. A critical component of this process, and in many of those that follow, is that it under constant review and analysis. As conditions change within and outside the organization, a rapid response is critical.

Business Development - This process requires constant innovation and market understanding. The ability to deliver new products to existing customers, existing products and services to new customers, and new products and new services to new customers helps you realize marketplace opportunities. This process is critical in filling your pipeline, and driving continuous revenue streams and cash flow to sustain your operation.

Deliver and Produce Services & Products - The third business process encompasses everything from supply chain, to manufacturing, to quality assurance, to service. It's critical to understand your current manufacturing capabilities along with key suppliers' to ensure uninterrupted production runs. Don't focus on trying to produce all the components internally, as you won't be able to do it. Stick to what you know best and do well without exception.

Market and Sell Products and Services - At the core of this process, is understanding what drives purchasing decisions, and the special needs of market segments and individual customers. By using tools that include customer visits, distributor meetings, focus groups, and input from your sales team, you can gather information on markets and customers. Remember, put yourself in your customer's shoes. Look at things from their perspective. Your goal is to understand what your customer wants, not to push your preferences on them.

Design and Deploy New Products and Services - Focus on improving the cycle time of the development process. Simplified product designs, common manufacturing platforms, and reduced part counts are just a few of the elements required to minimize the time and costs associated with this process.

Once you get started, you will realize that your next step will be to address supporting sub-processes, that when combined with your core business processes, will position your organization to accomplish your specific goals. Organizations must continue to develop and modify sub-processes to meet changes in customer requirements and market opportunities.

It's not as daunting as it might sound. With time, your organization will become more agile and develop a culture oriented towards continuous improvement. Small, incremental improvements keep your organization fresh without causing gut wrenching change.

John Sipple is President of Ignite Business Coaching. Ignite specializes in streamlining processes and mobilizing people to improve profitability, cash flow, and operations. Coaching and consulting services focus on exceeding financial goals, improving productivity, and customer and employee satisfaction.

Ignite helps solve the problems that keep you awake at night. Ignites' expertise in finance, leadership coaching, process consulting, and operational improvements enables a rapid response. It allows you to see around corners, and be ready for what's next. Visit Ignite Business Coaching today at http://www.BusinessIgnite.com or email us at Info@BusinessIgnite.com.

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