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How do you make a cheese sandwich?

How do you make a cheese sandwich?

How do you make a cheese sandwich?  Seems like a random question for a construction related blog but it’s very relevant.

In January this year I had a meeting with Leanne Bonner–Cooke (now MBE) CEO and founder of Evolve Consultants.

Evolve specialise in bespoke software and product development to help companies be more efficient.  The first stage in this is process mapping.

When we had the meeting, Leanne gave me, what I think is a brilliant example of understanding the need for mapping out processes.  How do you make a cheese sandwich?

If you asked  your employees to make a cheese sandwich they would all be different.  Some would quickly butter some bread, grab a couple of slices of cheese and whack it on.  Others would grate the cheese, perhaps add some salad and mayonnaise, take a bit longer over the process.  I think you can pretty much guarantee that no two sandwiches would be the same.

This can be the case in business too.  I met a Director recently who’s consultancy has grown rapidly over a 2 year period.  They’ve added more and more people and opened a couple of new offices but what he is finding is, he doesn’t have the time to be as hands-on as he’d like and there is inconsistency of service delivery.  New people are coming into the business who can technically do the job, but they are delivering in different ways and some more efficiently than others.  This inconsistency is impacting on their profit margins.  I know from my days as a QS and PM, there is a set fee and if you take longer to deliver, it eats into the profit.

A great way that you can maximise your profits, and I do this with my Clients is to map out your processes.  Ask yourself questions such as:

  • What do you want your Client experience to be?
  • How do you set up a project for success?
  • What are the standard processes that need to be followed for the services you deliver?
  • How long should this take to deliver?

You can then identify where the inefficiencies are and you can bring these standards and processes into performance managing your teams as well.  Where are the skills gaps?  Where are the inconsistencies of service delivery in your teams?  Who needs additional support but aren’t asking for it?

There is such a lot of pressure in our industry to be perfect at everything, and we certainly are not.  It can also be a sign of weakness to ask for help.  One of the worst experiences I had as a trainee surveyor was being given a cut and fill exercise to do, I felt like I couldn’t ask for help and it took me forever.  It was so demoralising and I’ve never forgotten that experience.  In fact I quit my job not long after that and became a waitress in an Italian restaurant briefly!!

Leanne recorded a 1hr to Change webinar with us in July and I’ve put the link below.  Taking 1hr out of your business could save you thousands.

Process Mapping/ IT Solutions