Getting the Processes Together
Over the Christmas period, I was playing “catch up” on the previous four weeks of Masterchef Australia as I love the format they have there, and the banter that comes with the judges. One of the challenges was trying to blend some obscure flavours together that came from historic Australian ingredients. One of them was black sugar ants !
Watching them mix and match (and many used the ants) reminded me of my corporate days when I was working in part of the airline & airport industry. Two companies had joined forces as they provided ancillary services in the bowels at London Heathrow, and the only thing they had in common was that they were people driven and serviced the end passengers through the airlines. Part of my role was to get the two businesses working together using the same systems & processes with shared resources and the same backing systems.
It all started with looking at what worked well within both companies, where there were holes in working practices and how they would like to work in the ideal world. Part of it involved a change of culture especially as a couple of other players came into the market to compete with their services. Their services had to be carried out on time and with the satisfaction of the customer – with flexibility for when flights come in late or early or when there was a stacking of planes when schedules change.
Documentation of working processes was the major task to be tackled. One of the companies had the bare bones of a manual that they kind of followed, but the other was built on a haphazard approach to business. By getting people round the table to discuss how things currently work & how they should work, documenting it all in detail, and then obtaining agreement from all parties, it helped to ensure process were followed the same way across the business, irrespective of which terminal they were in or which line manager was on duty. The process manual became the guide for training new members of staff so they could hit the ground running. The result was a workforce that could happily cross over between the merged companies and be placed to carry out the service that was required of them.
The haphazard mentality also carried through to the financial systems and processes with everything having to be started from scratch. With solid operational foundations, financial systems & processes could be built to guide people through their numbers and know effects of missed calls, additional work load from aircrafts and hence the disparate ingredients all blended together as one complete dish. I won’t say perfect dish as everything need refining and tweaking initially – but knowing when to stop is another skill to make sure your dish does not get burnt.
Making processes work for you
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