Having a successful business involves being organized. It involves conducting the business in a way that all required tasks are performed, and that they are done so efficiently by everyone.  Systems and procedures are needed in a business to ensure the operations of the business work harmoniously. In addition, everyone needs to clearly understand how to perform the tasks and  exactly what their individual responsibilities are. To be competitive in the current market, the business must operate at maximum productivity and as efficiently as possible.

What is a SYSTEM  ?

  • It is a set of detailed methods

What is a PROCEDURE  ?

  • It is a routine created to conduct a specific activity, perform a duty or solve a problem.
  • It is a series of steps constituting a planned method of carrying out an activity

How does having PROCEDURES help my business ?

Procedures:

  • Manage risk
  • They ensure that the organization’s processes are consistently performed in a standard and reproduceable manner
  • Ascertain compliance by ensuring that the standards and regulations are consistently followed
  • Define WHO  WHAT  WHERE  WHEN  WHY and establish accountability

For a business to operate reliably and predictably, it needs to be approached in a systematic way.

Systems and procedures provide the network of routines which are designed and necessary for the

smooth operation of the organization.  Success in business is largely determined by the maximum

utilization of information, resources and people.

Some key considerations :

  • The system and procedures  need to be documented in a step by step  manner in absolute detail.
  • It is advisable to have a record in written as well as electronic form which can be readily updated.
  • There needs to be good flow without bottlenecks.
  • The system needs to be easy to understand and straight forward.

As an example, here is an ordering Procedure that may be used for the ordering of supplies:

  1. Office manager checks supplies
  2. Prices checked from current prospective vendors
  3. Quotations and special deals are prepared
  4. Operations manager is presented with quotations for approval
  5. Operations manager approves or advises on changes and returns to office manager
  6. Purchase order is filled out by office manager.

So it is  clearly the responsibility of the office manager  to ensure that the best prices are obtained, as well as the fact  that there is a need for the supplies ie, there are none hiding in the back of a cupboard. The operations manager can then approve the  prices being charged and so the purchase can proceed. In this way, the spending of the business is well controlled.

Each business needs its own systems and these need to be developed and documented according to the type of business. By doing so, it will help to reduce errors, minimise training and errors by new  staff and allow efficient use of time. Should a staff member be away unexpectedly, another staff member can step in and follow the procedure step by step to ensure the continual running of the business.  Having documented systems and procedures allows responsibilities of certain tasks to be affixed to a particular employee, as well as allowing for better coordination between different departments and staff.

Employees can thus perform their job independently and with confidence.

Of course, systems and procedures are dynamic and must always be re-evaluated and revised to suit changes in the business environment .