Scaling for Kiwi SMBs
How Kiwi SMBs can Scale through Systemisation and Design Thinking
How Kiwi SMBs can Scale through Systemisation and Design Thinking
Thanks to lashings of Kiwi ingenuity, New Zealand is one of the most admired nations in the world. From the electric fence to the jet boat – as well as our scientists being closely connected with splitting the atom – we’ve been responsible for delivering (or supporting) a lot of firsts. Coming up with and executing great ideas has been at the heart of everything we do.
Innovation is just one aspect of the ingenious character of our nation. And naturally, as is the case for any great idea or business, systemising it helps to guarantee its long-term success.
In this eBook, we will explore how you can systemise your business in a human-centric way. In addition, you will find out how you can leverage affordable, customisable technology to help support your business to grow and thrive both now and in the future.
So, what exactly is systemisation?
Systemising your business involves mapping and documenting the processes and procedures that are repeatable and can be standardised.
The process of systemisation commences with mapping the value chain
and identifying the main activities that are associated with critical products
or services provided by a business. Each activity consists of a number
of processes and procedures that are often repeatable. Once mapped, these should be first documented and then systemised to ensure that they are standardised within an organisation.
Systemised businesses benefit from efficiency gains in terms of productivity levels and improved transparency across the organisation. They have greater visibility across their operations and there is less room for human error. When a business is well organised, it is better prepared to scale as demand increases, without having to react unnecessarily.
Systemised businesses are more valuable to investors and to both current and future employees. Having visibility within a business means that any gaps and opportunities are more easily identifiable which, in turn, means decisions can be made using data rather than gut feeling. Employees can also spend less time on manual tasks and more time being productive.
In this way, systematisation assists businesses to make informed management decisions that furthers their strategic objectives.
In general, for the majority of SMBs having a systemised business provides more scope to focus on growth and innovation rather than being a victim of chaos and complexity.
Let’s now consider some of the common areas within a business that can be systemised.
A huge range of financial management processes can be systemised. Most businesses are able to create different processes for accounts receivable and accounts payable, as well as cash flow management, budgeting and expense management.
Other financial management tasks that can be systemised include banking and reconciliation, as well as financial reporting and analysis. One advantage of this process is the ability to create standard or customised reports based on real-time data. This leads to improved margins, fewer errors and better business decisions overall.
The entire sales cycle, from initial contact
to closing a deal, customer management
and after-sales support, can be systemised. Likewise, it is valuable to systemise marketing activities, including campaign management, monitoring and return on investment.
Systemising also allows you to store customer data centrally, including contracts and service agreements. Adopting this approach provides businesses with better insight into their sales processes and results in more accurate sales forecasts.
Systemising the complete source to contract cycle and distribution value chain leads to improved cost control and greater transparency in terms of what
the business buys, sells and distributes. It also allows business owners to streamline every part of the procurement process, including sourcing, contract and supplier management, purchasing, invoicing, payment processing, stock control and inventory distribution.
If your business is involved in warehousing goods, then systemising this part of your operations will also lead to real efficiencies when planning stock purchases which, in turn, will permit you to introduce real-time management of inventory levels. This should also dovetail into the business’ accounts system and ensure it can invoice automatically after receiving a purchase order. The end result is a truly optimised supply chain that integrates everything from cancellations to credit notes.
Systemising your operations allows you to generate real-time reports in a variety of formats and dashboards based on up-to-the minute data received from multiple sources. Importantly, this information is accessible on all your electronic devices and provides you with a genuine overview of your business operations. Standardisation also allows you to create standard or bespoke reports based on the specific requirements of your business.
Being able to access such advanced business intelligence differentiates your business from your competitors’ by giving you the ability to set and measure key performance indicators (KPIs) that provide true insights into the success
(or otherwise) of your strategic objectives across multiple touch points. The
end game is being able to make better, more insightful decisions about your business. Moreover, your team is able to work with greater confidence because they recognise that they are acting on relevant and data-driven information. It also means they can establish relationships between different data points to determine what’s really driving your firm’s success to ensure that these characteristics are enhanced over time.
Once you have identified which parts of your business you intend to standardise, the next step in the systemisation process involves reviewing actual workflows across your operations in order to map out end-to-end processes. This includes pinpointing any blockages, so they can be readily resolved.
One way this can be accomplished is via a process called design thinking, which provides a framework for businesses to re-think and improve how they perform tasks for the benefit of their employees and customers – in other words, for real people.
Dr Nicholas Duck is the director and principal consultant of The Opposite – a company which specialises in helping businesses re-think their work processes in order to make them more efficient and effective.
Dr Duck explains that design thinking involves taking into account how employees and customers actually use the processes that are designed for their benefit before they actually start using them.
According to Dr Duck, “Acknowledging the user in a formal way upfront saves costs because you don’t have to rework processes later. Being able to actually understand the user when you’re designing the solution also enables productivity. Plus, recognising that people can make decisions and don’t need overly specific information promotes motivation.”
When initially embarking on design thinking, request that your staff map out the processes they use. This includes talking through their relationships with people involved in the chain of events and how technology could support them.
Another approach is to map the user’s needs against the process to ensure the steps in the system match the user’s requirements. This can be done by asking users to rate each step in the process from one to five, with five being most useful and one being least useful in terms of fulfilling their needs. This provides a good indication of the critical steps in any process.
It’s not just employees who can benefit from businesses adopting design thinking. Focusing on the customer within the systems they will be using also helps to drive sales.
“You have to be in regular contact with the customer to co- design solutions with them. You can gauge what the customer wants by giving them something to work with, such as a prototype they can use, without going so far that you need the customer to instruct you on what to do,” explains Dr Duck.
While the design thinking approach may sound like common sense – and it is – it’s very easy to make systems and processes more complex than they need to be by including steps that might seem relevant but are not actually useful. So, when you’re systemising your business, don’t forget to involve the user in the process to ensure the business and the people who depend on it can recognise value in it.
Let’s take a look at how businesses are using SAP Business One to transform their operations.
Jorge Schmidt manages an agricultural business with acres
of avocado trees, citrus trees and table grapes, which has grown by a factor of 10 over the past decade and he required a solution that could support every aspect of his operation.
This is why Jorge chose SAP Business One to unify his firm’s distributed data. While the business was producing and collecting data across its operations, this information wasn’t centralised until it had implemented SAP Business One. The agricultural engineers produced their own data, as did the financial managers, but none of this goldmine of information was collated in a central database.
Using SAP Business One, all of Schmidt’s clients are now integrated globally. The system can handle any currency, collecting and collating all the data across his business operations, which is then used to drive improvement. Schmidt’s team is currently implementing the Axis One add-on for remuneration modelling, which is essential in agriculture. At
the same time, his engineers are working on a system for agricultural management with geo-referencing. Both these innovations can be integrated with SAP Business One
Decavo Manufacturing is a niche business that designs and manufactures specialist composite products for the aerospace, medical and consumer goods industries.
Due to its simplicity, control and flexibility, SAP Business One is able to save them time, money and energy. Importantly, the software supports the business to use real due dates on manufacturing orders, and every order goes through SAP Business One.
According to Decavo’s Vice President of Operations, Blake Maygra, SAP Business One supports limitless growth within their organisation.
Arcancil sells cosmetics products throughout France and around the world. Given the many different international regulations that apply to its products, the company is responsible for managing a complex supply chain.
Arcancil relies on SAP Business One to deliver reliable data
and real-time reporting capabilities to make informed business decisions. Where once it used to take their team 80 days a
year to produce reports, by using SAP Business One they can now access this same information through a process that only takes two or three days. This means a wider staff cohort can be involved in making faster and better decisions.
The technology also allows Arcancil to monitor an order from receival time, through to fulfilment, shipping, invoicing and payment. Moreover, because the business is so efficient and customer satisfaction levels are so high, the company feels confident about pursuing new business opportunities.
Tech platform start-up Frubana relies on SAP Business One
to connect Colombian farmers directly with restaurants. This technology has allowed them to automate their processes and streamline inventory and financial management to support their business growth.
SAP Business One integrates each section within Frubana which, in turn, means the business can expand globally and accept many different currencies and do business with companies that operate in multiple languages.
Thanks to SAP Business One, industrial graphic design and printing company Grupo AMF has been able to achieve much higher levels of process control and improve the data it uses for decision-making. The company now has access to detailed, real-time reporting and insights, allowing it to keep its inventory up-to-date and optimise its entire operation.
We would like to offer your business a complimentary exploratory session during which we can provide you with advice about how to systemise your business to support innovation. If you’re interested in testing the power of SAP Business One, we can schedule a demo at your convenience.
If you do decide to work with our local experts, you can drop in for a meeting or chat over coffee, or phone us at any time. Our team has experience delivering solutions that solve unique challenges for Kiwi businesses across many industries. We provide ongoing support and maintain strong relationships with our clients, thereby ensuring that their current and future needs are always satisfied.