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Mind The Gap! Can You Cover The Cracks In Your Company?

Cracks have a habit of appearing where we don’t want them. Every homeowner has that unpleasant moment of realizing a new crack has appeared on the ceiling. And, we’ve all cussed about that crack in the road. These are irritating yet inevitable parts of daily life.

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After all, the moment a crack appears, your efforts risk falling down that chasm. Still, even the best entrepreneurs experience gaps in operations sometimes. This is especially likely when you start out and experience teething problems. Don’t fear, though. The appearance of company cracks doesn’t mean you’re doomed to failure. All you need to do is know how to cover them so that they don’t show to the public. Lucky for you, we’re going to look at a few primary problem areas, and what you can do about them.

Terrible team members

When you start your employment journey, you won’t know what you’re looking for. There’s every possibility that you could end up with less than perfect members on your team. It may be that they don’t have a great work ethic, or that they have a disagreeable manner. It may even be that they cause workplace ruptures. A team member like this can cause issues for everyone else in the office. That’s sure to have a knock-on impact. Then answer? Make sure to do thorough background checks before taking anyone onboard. Make an effort, too, to harness experts by offering training. And, if team members still let you down, don’t be precious about letting them go. Your business will be better for it.

Manufacturing messes

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Given your product is the main attraction, it’s also crucial to look out for cracks in manufacturing. These can come in a few different forms. It may simply be that you haven’t perfected a production method which works yet. Or, it may be that your machinery isn’t producing a clean-cut product. That first point is easy enough to cover over with a little careful planning and playing around. The latter isn’t quite as simple, though there is still a clear solution. If you aren’t achieving the finish you want, you should turn to someone like this manufacturer who offer precision equipment which is sure to be an improvement. Recalibrating your machines may also provide the precise measurements you’re after.

Delivery disasters

Many new companies also experience cracks in their delivery methods. This is terrible news as it directly impacts the customer experience. To make sure they don’t notice these problems, you need to focus your efforts here early on. Your best option by far would be to turn to an outsourced courier service like this one when you start out. This ensures your deliveries come from a professional and established company. As simple as that, you can put the risk of cracks here behind you, and see your deliveries on a smooth road to arrival.

5 Ways Healthcare Facilities Can Improve Their Financial Performance

StrategyDriven Business Performance Assessment Program ArticleHealthcare facility operating margins are under pressure from all sides. Uncompensated care of patients, slow paying insurance providers, reduced government reimbursement rates and rising costs are all contributing factors. Cutting staff and similar solutions risk quality of care and an extended wait time. Here are four ways healthcare facilities can improve their financial performance without adversely impacting patients.

Measure and Manage Based on the Right Metrics

The metrics you use as the yardstick for organizational performance affect how people act. Instead of seeking to get patients out as soon as possible, look at readmission rates. It would be better to invest a little more time and effort up front so that patients don’t have to come back later. This is so important that low re-admissions are necessary to join an accountable care organization or ACO. Instead of simply measuring the time it takes to discharge a patient, focus on finding the most efficient and error-free method of doing so. You want to ensure that acute patients receive appropriate self-care instructions and follow-ups so they don’t end up getting worse. You can also use data to identify opportunities for improvement, whether it is determining where to streamline operations or which profit-centers you may want to expand.

Work with Payors, Not Against Them

Healthcare facilities have no control over underpayments from government health programs. They can work with commercial and employer-based payers such as insurance carriers, and they can work with private pay patients. Healthcare facilities should take the time to understand their existing contracts and look for ways to better meet those contracts, so that they receive as much money back as possible. A common solution is renegotiating contracts.

A surprising number of uninsured patients are eligible for government programs. Work with them to sign them up for programs so that the facility can reduce its rate of uncompensated care or bad debt from those who cannot afford expensive ER and OR bills.

Reevaluate Your Suppliers

Work with your vendors to save money on supplies; that is the second largest expense in most healthcare facilities. Ask vendors about discounts you could receive simply due to the volume of items you already consume. Inquire about discounts if you ordered items in bulk and run inventory so that you don’t order items you don’t need.

Collect Data to Manage Labor Costs

In medical facilities, labor costs and labor-related costs may be more than half of all expenditures. Focusing on other areas is a waste of time if these expenses are not under control. The solution is to carefully track data on staffing and manage labor on a cost-per-patient-day level. Don’t over-staff one area and under-staff another. Make data-driven labor decisions whether hiring, firing, or assigning overtime. Hold regular meetings on managing labor rolls monthly, quarterly and annually. Don’t cut 10% across the board, but instead cut those individuals who are redundant or under-utilized. If labor costs are high in an area, you can look for third-party service providers who you could outsource the work to.

Use risk reporting software to find gaps in dynamic care, study financial trends, and determine the risks you may face based on resource allocation decisions. Then you won’t end up hurting patients with understaffing during a predictable peak demand or fall short of cash unexpectedly.

Industry surveys have found that finances are the number one concern of executives year after year. Following these tips can help you cut costs and improve revenue without hurting the quality of care patients receive.

Common Business Performance Improvement Opportunities

In today’s hyper competitive marketplace, no leader can afford to see his or her organization’s performance remain stagnant or, worse yet, decline. It’s become an imperative as well as a customer expectation that your company’s performance continually improve no matter what business you’re in.

It can be exceedingly difficult for a business leader to pinpoint the performance improvement opportunities enabling his or her organization to achieve its fullest potential.

At StrategyDriven, we’ve had the privilege of helping leading companies around the world improve their performance. Based on this experience, we’ve identified several common performance improvement opportunities associated with the organizational, process, and technology areas that you can look for and implement within your organization to improve overall performance.

Common Business Performance Opportunities explores the organization, process, and technology challenges frequently preventing the achievement of superior business performance.

As illustrated by StrategyDriven’s Information Development Model, business performance assessments belong to the third tier of performance data refinement. Performance reports at this level benefit from human intelligence added to supporting data during: initial data synthesis, basic trend identification and analysis, multi-trend synthesis, and basic model application. It is the infusion of human knowledge and experience at these points that makes these assessments broadly integrated and highly insightful.

To learn how to maximize the value of your business performance assessment efforts:


About the Author

Nathan Ives, StrategyDriven Principal is a StrategyDriven Principal, and Host of the StrategyDriven Podcast. For over twenty years, he has served as trusted advisor to executives and managers at dozens of Fortune 500 and smaller companies in the areas of management effectiveness, organizational development, and process improvement. To read Nathan’s complete biography, click here.

Smoothing Out Some Processes

Think about how your business is run as a whole. We know that there are going to be some areas that just don’t flow. Some areas that might be holding you back somewhat. We’re sure that you want your business to be a perfectly well oiled machine, but the truth is, it just isn’t going to happen. Sometimes, your business is just going to stay a little rough around the edges. But, as long as you have the main internal processes smoothed out, then your business should be able to go from strength to strength. Plus, we think we know a few different areas that your business might be struggling with a little. And, what’s even better, we think we know a few ways that we can iron out the processes so they’re crease free. If your business needs a little bit of help, have a read of the pointers we’ve got below, and see if we can smooth out those processes for you!

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Smoother Sales

You should always be looking for some smoother sales when it comes to your business. There’s nothing worse than delay after delay happening to your company, but, it’s something that a lot of business owners actually have to deal with. So, if you want smoother sales, one thing you could try is a new point of sale for your small business. This is going to be perfect for those of you who have a shop floor where you make your sales. It works by giving you a system on a tablet that you can use in your store. It connects to card machines, and is easy to use. But, it doesn’t stop there. It will then allow you to analyse your finances for the day, and then allow you to see your profits and losses. It will also allow you to manage your inventory. So, as an all rounder, this really will smooth out your sales processes in store, as everything will be on one app.

Smoother Management

Management of your company is one of the biggest areas that you’ll have to manage, and you’re already going to be fully aware that it’s not as easy as you would think it would be! If you want to do this right, you’re going to have to find out where your flaws are at the minute. For a lot of companies, we believe that a lack of communication is to blame here. If you’re not communicating down the chain of command, you’re going to have a shambles at your feet. The more you talk about problems that people are having, the better you’re going to understand the company, and the better you’re going to be able to manage.

Smoother Marketing

Smoother marketing is essential if you want your company to grow. If you aren’t really putting much effort into a campaign at the minute, then this is what needs to change. You need to have a clear marketing plan, and the best way to do this is to get in touch with a marketing company who is going to run a good campaign for you. If you want your marketing campaign to work, you’re going to have to have a good company to carry you!

Ways to Identify Issues in your Business Process

StrategyDriven Business Performance Assessment ArticleEffective processes are how businesses develop and grow. Without these, it makes it difficult for you to make improvements and in turn make your business more successful. Managing processes and identifying what is and isn’t working quite right can be a time-consuming process depending on the methods used, but a necessary one. We have listed some ways in which you can identify bottlenecks within your business process effectively and how to use this information to make improvements.

Create Solid Business Goals

In order to overcome any issues in terms of business process or business in general – you should make sure that you have clear identified goals. In order to do this, it’s a good idea to have a meeting with the management team in your company and discuss what these should be. Your business goals should be able to be summarized on a one-page document. Normally businesses use SMART objectives. This stands for:

  • Specific – clear idea of what you want to achieve
  • Measurable – the goal should be measured, to help you identify whether or not you have achieved it
  • Achievable – make sure you have the cash and the level of resources needed to complete it
  • Relevant – it needs to be related to the goals you want to achieve. For example, increasing your profit margins, increasing your workforce, or pushing your brand out there
  • Timely – there should be a realistic timescale as to when you want to achieve your goal by

Once these clear objectives are set, it will allow you to evaluate your processes properly.

Use Kanban Boards

Have you ever heard of Kanban before? You may want to read this definition of Kanban by Kanbanize, for more in-depth information, but essentially you can outline your process on Kanban board cards which gives you a visual workflow process. Here you can see all the different stages of the specific process you are tracking. Within that, you can add limits to specific users too. This means that you can keep your key members of staff being torn away from their work and being distracted with other tasks by setting limits to the number of cards they have. This means that they can really focus on the elements of the business you need them to. By making sure you have every stage of your process outlined on your Kanban boards at a granular level, you will be able to spot any bottlenecks easily. It’s simple, if there is more going into one section than going out, that needs to be resolved. By pinpointing the exact area, this allows you to implement new improvements to this very specific area of the process.

Staff Appraisals

Staff appraisals are a great way to identify issues with your business process. In a busy working day – it can be difficult to find the time to speak to individual employees about their role and responsibilities in the company. By undertaking regular staff appraisals – this gives you time dedicated to that employee, to find out about their individual experience in the workplace and where they fit. Here you will be able to uncover areas that they may feel that they need further development – so you can make sure that they are trained effectively in order to undertake their tasks either internally or externally. You will also find out if there are any specific interests or skills that aren’t being used within the business currently that could be of use to you. It can also be difficult from a management level to be fully aware of everything that goes on in the day to day running of the company depending on its size or scale. Appraisals allows for feedback from the employees, where they can let you know if there’s anything they think that would improve processes moving forward that you may not have thought of.

Don’t just Resolve Problems – Look for Opportunities

Resolving issues within processes is all well and good, but it’s important that you also look for opportunities along the way. Identifying these key points could actually trigger a much bigger change within your business for better outcomes. Areas where you could be looking and creating new opportunities for include: better customer service, improved collaboration and communication between team members and improving the relationship between management and other team members. Developing upon these opportunities will improve the overall success of your business.

Keep Measuring and Refining

There is always room for improvement. Just because you have resolved a specific issue which has your process working better in that instance, it doesn’t mean that will always be the case. It’s important that you keep on top of processes on a regular basis. As your business grows things will change, so it’s essential that you keep monitoring and reviewing your processes to ensure they are still effective as they once were and fix as you go. That’s why something like Kanban boards can be incredibly useful. They are easy to modify when changes are made and allow for continuous evaluation. They are great tools to use to be in-keeping with business growth.

Have a Contingency Plan

When evaluating and resolving processes you also need to think about what happens if things aren’t running as they normally would. For example – will things still run as smoothly if someone is on holiday for 2 weeks, or if they have maternity/paternity leave scheduled in? These are common things that companies can forget when creating and evaluating processes. As well as identifying problems and resolving them, you also need to be on the lookout for potential problems that may not have arisen yet but could do. That way you are taking preventative measures and have everything covered no matter who is on holiday. We firmly believe in the phrase “failing to prepare, is preparing to fail”.

Review your Goals and Objectives

As your business grows and evolves, your goals will change. If not already in place, it’s always recommended that you have regular review meetings to not only evaluate whether t hey have been met or not – but whether these should be changed to either be more realistic – or to coincide with business growth. It could be that you have decided to introduce a brand-new product or service, or that you have new departments to think of, or it could be that you want to eliminate a part of your business all-together. Whatever the change may be, it’s important that you review your goals and objectives as these come along and implement the appropriate processes.

Hopefully now you have some more information as to how you can identify problems in processes within your business, and some useful tools that will allow you to do this. Make sure you have clear goals, have your processes outlined clearly on Kanban boards or similar software, speak to your staff – and of course look out for problems that could arise, not only ones that are currently occurring. Just like with anything, there is always room for improvement when it comes to running your business.

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