Has anything similar happened to your operation? An order comes in with the wrong count and/or quantity? Or the bill comes in with items never ordered? What ensues is a drain on time and resources for something that could have been avoided with the right combination or training, expectations and operating standards.
In the piping systems industry we focus on safety training, ratings and performance. PSI’s gotten darn good with our on-site safety – the front line guys know how important it is to clients. Accuracy with fabrication, installation and inspections have been our standard for a long time.
Then I realized how much I disliked the INaccuracy in other areas as a business owner. What if the same focus and expectations are set for the business side of a manufacturing operation? Funny thing that happens is you can get bogged down in the reasons WHY the billing system doesn’t do this or that. Or the info from Form 12A is hard to understand.
It didn’t happen overnight, but now the same focus we have on safety in the field is what we instill on the business side for accuracy. The formula?
Don’t assume the knowledge is there. With a new estimator or billing person, test and validate. We do it for our OSHA ratings, why not in the office? Train. Follow up. Examine procedures for outdated or poor flow.
Assure the KNOWLEDGE is available AND being utilized in every step of estimation and administration.
Respect what it takes to deal with the spreadsheets, scheduling service, planning a project, balance the books. Be sure the people performing these duties know that they hold the customer experience in their hands after the crews leave our customer’s facility.
The need for self-respect and internal RESPECT goes all the way up and down the line. No department is an island. It takes everyone.
And with respect comes a way to measure performance in the form of accuracy. We focus on accurate bills. Accurate estimates. Accurate scheduling so we are on site, on time.
ACCURACY is not a given. People make mistakes. Accuracy must be part of your culture with measurable results that are shared throughout the operation.
Why would we ever focus on accuracy in one part of the business and not all? Could be we are more comfortable on the manufacturing side. It’s always seemed more measurable. But what I have found is being the kind of business owner I can respect meant I drive home the same level of standard across all departments. Certifications may be easier to implement and measure in general in this industry, but I can guarantee that an accurate bill keeps our customers happy after we have cleaned and packed up the job.