“I have almost 70 years and I'm tired” Hector said, founder and leader of the food company that, definitely, stomp on the market. “I feel like it's time to start delegating more”, added.
With 40 years on the market, the firm had undergone many changes, fluctuations and crises. But it had always come out ahead thanks to the drive and intuition of whoever conceived it, towards the decade of 1970. Enjoying was also part of the demand: "I want to travel more, share more time with my grandchildren ... but the day to day consumes me and, when I slip a little, things don't work. ”
The end goal was clear: achieve an effective delegation that would allow to break with the "sun structure" that had been generated around Héctor throughout the life of the company. It was time to make an in-depth diagnosis of the situation to detect key areas for improvement.
Diagnosis and plan
We start working in the diagnostic stage. Héctor seemed very determined to change the way of working of the organization and the gear between his collaborators. We carried out a comprehensive review of the company to identify the areas that required modifications and improvements. So, we interview the most representative collaborators, we analyze the economic-financial information available, and we looked at how the organization and its processes worked.
We were able to verify that the founder directed each movement, made all kinds of decision and definition, and was involved in daily operational tasks. These decisions, basically, they held on to their intuition. Although Héctor said that the management numbers were available and that this was not the root of the problem, it became clear to us that it was the tip of the iceberg. Because although there were accounting numbers of the company, there were no indicators reflecting his "health": increase, real profitability, etc. Even Héctor was also not aware of the real profitability that the business was generating. So, lack of management information and measurement parameters made decision-making arbitrary, that effective delegation was not feasible, and that a strategy without clear objectives would raise doubts about the company's north.
On the other side, we found that many work processes were not clear to collaborators, in addition to rudimentary and inefficient. When asked why things were done in such a way, the quintessential answer was: "We always did it that way". Many tasks had to be modernized with adequate technology and computerization. AND, the staff, trained in handling new tools.
We detected that there was no budget forecast for investments, nor an assigned salary for the owner of the company (key factor; can delve into it in: https://www.dinka.com.ar/retribucion-del-empresario-sueldo-o-dividendos.php)
After this comprehensive review, the focus of the work was defined:
1- Identify where the business is leveraged, with the corresponding numbers (nonexistent so far).
2- Already identified these key areas, assemble work teams to function professionally.
3- Implement an effective task delegation system, so that the parties could carry out their functions with control and autonomy.
We started working on the parameterization of management information, developing dashboards to analyze information for decision making. The idea was to begin to visualize the company “towards the future”, planning based on measurable objective parameters. By the way, It was a very different look than the one Héctor had been driving, and we weren't surprised by his resistance at first. "I hired them for another purpose. What I need is more free time, to help me organize, but what they are doing so far is wasting time, and more work for me and my collaborators ”, repeated at every encounter.
In this type of projects, it usually happens that the client has a pre-conceived idea of the problem. It is instinctive to believe that, to simplify the day to day, it is necessary to start acting directly on the work processes. But you have to understand that, if one is wrongly focused, act on processes to be more efficient, may be just the opposite of the goal.
From our consultant, we seek not only to help clarify the objectives and the way of analyzing the business, but we accompany in its implementation, in the search and definition of tools to do it. Thus, we asked the businessman to trust us. We understood his feeling of "suffocation", but that for process reengineering to be efficient, should have good planning and a clear horizon as a starting point. Every process of change takes time, and the stages are necessary to achieve real change. Héctor understood this and gave us the opportunity. That's how, during the first months of work, we focus on dashboards, to generate the indicators that would show the profitability of the business and where it is leveraged.
parallel, we suggest hiring a General Manager. The proposal was to start working with him from our consultancy already during the change process. So, aligned to the company, could accompany Héctor in the general management of the same.
Once the actual situation of the company has been captured and the focus of the business should be identified, we detect which processes generated value, as well as which ones could be more delegated, and this allowed us to prioritize them.
By case, one of the most conflictive was the coordination between Sales and Warehouse-Logistics. Sales planned deliveries that could never be met, either because Depósito mis-assembled the orders, or because deliveries were delayed. This resulted in customer complaints and claims, returns, and rework of the entire chain. So, Héctor ended up getting involved in the entire chain, asking what had happened to such an order and why it had not been delivered well. I was trying to solve each case in particular, looking for responsible and held: "If I'm not here, nobody does anything and the ship sinks!”.
To search for the solution, we go to the management boards. We noticed that there were many very small orders, that generated a lot of work, mixed among the major high volume. You were being too flexible with the minimum amount, even though the company's customers were wholesalers. Under the motto "We want to leave the customer happy", all kinds of orders were accepted and, definitely, ended up neglecting all customers. Conclusion, this was not a process problem, but of Commercial strategy, that was detected thanks to the first stage of work. Once again, resistance to change was present in the leader of the firm, when we propose to modify this condition of sale (minimums in orders), but finally he understood that the company was no longer the startup, and that this change did not imply giving less service to customers, If not the opposite.
On the other side, deliveries were always being scheduled for 48 hours after ordering, regardless of customer location. This generated very extensive tours every day and additional expenses, disorganization, non-compliance with the scheduled delivery times, etc. In this case, although Hector's custom indicated that this was the way to make deliveries, agreed to plan them by zones, according to the days.
At present, we are working on the other processes pending to be redefined, and in the incorporation of new technologies, and then focus specifically on business management. Héctor is already much more relieved, seeing that the changes have very positive results. AND, Step by Step, is unlinking from some tasks. By the way, This does not imply that you stop supervising the general activity of what will always be “your company”.
Founder and director of DINKA, a comprehensive consultancy for SMEs, dedicated to developing custom projects.
She is an industrial engineer from the UBA, with a postgraduate degree in Strategic Marketing. Advised more than 40 entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs, both in the startup stage and in solving structural and management problems.