TYPICALLY when a company is set up, it aims to become stronger and bigger through the efforts of everyone in the organisation. As the company grows, additional requirements from the business management process can cause the company to invest on facilities and operational systems.
The new enterprise resource planning system may be needed to facilitate the growth. The regulations and procedures may be added to support expansion of the business. Sometimes, additional procedure is established to address problems found without considering the probability of recurring and associated risks.
Some companies found out that competitors could perform the business with looser controls but faster in speed. It is also interesting to see some managers get used to the existing operations without much challenge to the operational improvements. When these big and awkward companies start feeling that something needs to be made to be more efficient, it can be too late. Thus complex system is not what the company really wants. It needs the most efficient and effective system with simple process. The following are some ideas on how to avoid falling into the trap of the complexity.
Put users as the target customers – Any procedures or systems that the management decides to launch to meet long-term objectives should take into account internal end-users as the target. The system should be as user-friendly as possible while keeping the benefits to be obtained as ultimate goals. This could help avoid creating non-value adding and non-satisfactory systems for users.
Perform continuous review and improvement – As environmental changes happen both internally and externally of the organization, it is important for responsible people to ensure that core systems have been regularly checked for any flaws and room for improvement. Ignorance to the necessary changes can cause expensive efforts at later stage.
Adopt the mind-set of simplicity – Whenever people are dealing with complicated system and don’t fully understand what is going on, it is a sign of dangerous consequences that may cause the company expensive lessons. Due to the complexity, it is hard for responsible people to verify the correctness and completeness of the business transactions. Apparently the top management should feel concerned about this situation.
Fix the problem as fast as possible – In most cases, it does not mean that the management is not aware of the negative implications of the existing systems but it is the action taking that is too slow. Many important issues have been pending for so long that they become harder and harder to be fixed.
In several management meetings of companies with complex systems, participants have to spend a lot of time discussing about how the system work and may have to repeat the subjects again and again. This is a good example of inefficiency caused by the weak operational system. Many employees may have to leave the company because the hardship they have to face in getting their jobs done.
The painful system should be addressed on a timely manner and receive priority from the top management to really do something to secure the people because of such difficult system. Let’s simplify the system so that it becomes our real strength.
DR YANYONG THAMMATUCHAREE
CEO – “Sukontha” the First Trussless Roof Company in Thailand. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org