Business X has been steadily growing over the last 5 years and now employs nearly 100 employees across 5 premises with a fleet of vehicles and a large quantity of specialist equipment. The staff have a variety of skills but require refresher training from time to time. The last year has been particularly busy and the MD and her managers have co-ordinated and managed all the day to day activities.
Recently the MD has realised that she is maybe losing sight of the overall business strategy for growth and profitability due to spending a lot of time on daily issues. Competitors seem to be in a similar position but one, in particular stands out from the rest. The MD decides she needs to take stock of everything and maybe refocus the management teams’ efforts to what they are really good at, sales & customer service.
What is the lead competitor doing differently, fortunately the MD is friends with the lead competitor as they have both done work for each other during busy periods and has a good professional relationship with the MD. She arranges a lunch, were the MD simply says it is down to planning, communication and a bit of streamlining & removing in-efficiencies.
The MD goes away and decides to bring in a specialist consultant planner she met at a Networking event who had mentioned about how powerful planning can be and that they were promoting Business Annual Operating Plans. She contacted the Planning Consultant and met to discuss her concerns and ways to improve like the lead competitor. Following from the initial free consultation the Planner put forward the proposal of a 1-year Annual Operating Plan (AOP) firstly to give business an overall view of all activities required to keep operating, identify exactly who does what, when, where and how. Also, the Planner advised there was a Grant available for Specialist Consultant Services for up to 25% of the cost which the MD applied for and was granted.
It quickly became apparent that although the business information existed it had been spread out across the management team and the MD herself as well as some key individuals. The Planner met with all the information owners collecting the information in a variety of formats. Then developed an AOP for the business covering everything from business insurances, licenses, premises inspections, vehicles tax, MOT, insurance, services, equipment inspections, staff training, meetings, audits, renewals, holidays, different staff working hours, financials, pretty much everything the team could think of.
A preliminary plan was developed during which time it quickly became evident that a lot of time was spent travelling to meetings by a lot of staff. Following a management meeting it was decided to reduce the frequency by half for one of the meetings as a trial for 3 months, after which the feedback was that staff had time to complete all their actions and the business was saving 60 man/hours a month in driving to and attending these meetings.
The AOP was reviewed, amended, finalised and issued to the MD, the Planner offered advice using techniques like the 4 D’s Delete, Delegate, Define, Defer to help the business streamline and helped identify the immediate areas of in-efficiency. Resources not being fully utilised or often over allocated directly affecting customer service. Multiple people assigned to the same task, no-one assigned to some tasks, tasks being left to last minute, accepting the renewal rather than obtaining quotes. The management were re-focused on these areas to improve, the action plan for these improvements was incorporated into the AOP which was then communicated to the entire workforce.
The Planner provided support throughout the year on a fortnightly basis giving managers monthly lookaheads, giving the MD analysis of resources, planned vs actual and developing the plan further to include costs. Then they began the following years AOP which was now much simpler as the template was already built, and dates were starting to be available to populate.
The MD decided to fully embrace Planning to go further and with the Planner developed a 2-year AOP, 5-year tactical plan and a 10-year strategic plan including several project plans that could further improve the business.