We often see crafts and process management as two poles – as compatible as day and night. Why is that? In small and medium-sized enterprises, work often seems clear, manageable, under control. If a company has good employees, one might think the right processes would come along by themselves anyway. But that’s a common perceptual trap. As a matter of fact, requirements have significantly increased due to competition and legal terms. Hence, without process management nothing works.
At the same time, we face excellent prerequisites for process optimization in craft industries: flat hierarchies, pragmatic thinking and decision-making, as well as a general willingness to quickly implement things. So you get desired effects quickly, leading to increased performance and reduced costs.
If we take a closer look, data exchange is in need of improvement, especially in craft industries: timesheets are commonly still handwritten, and once back in the office, transferred to the IT world. A lack of mobile data collection, media discontinuity, and non-transparent processes contribute to the waste of important resources. Data collection and evaluation are rather sporadic. At the end of the day it’s mostly about absolute basics, such as capturing and sharing photos related to a project. Existing IT-solutions are quickly hitting functional limitations or are simply too complicated.
Especially in small and medium-sized companies, employees and managers hold a high level of expertise and experience. In general, they know very well which challenge urges most and how to tackle it. However, in practice financial and thus retrospective key performance indicators (KPIs) prevail.
What really matters is not abstract figures in the office, but added value in direct relation with people and processes. This refers to the individual decision or personal activity the customer is willing to pay for. Of course, that is captured by financial KPIs in the end as well. But added value is a much better indicator to operations than any other figure in the office could ever be: for example, if my client is satisfied with my performance, sales will increase as well. Or can I save a workstep by choosing the right material? Then costs will drop, too. Focusing on added value means being "very close": to my customer, to my employee, and to my subcontractor.
Small and medium-sized enterprises are struggling more than large corporations to raise funds for necessary process management infrastructure. However, we believe that IT and process management simply go together. That's why we're working on a mobile solution that focuses on added value, while remaining lean and easy to use. A free download will be available by the end of September 2018 in the Apple App Store and on Google Play. There will be also a desktop version available.
This one is true, especially for crafts: Don’t just talk the talk, walk the walk!