How to successfully implement good internal procedures?
I present an article which is a fragment of my diploma thesis that I am writing. The article concerns the implementation of changes in the enterprise. This short article concerns the implementation of internal procedures. Comments arise from my experience.
Changing internal procedures, especially in the area of sales and customer service is a task that requires consideration. New organizational solutions can affect customer relationships. When introducing improvements, managers should be careful to avoid disorganization of work. Due to this risk, it is necessary to perform a series of preparatory activities that will reduce the risk of implementing a non-functional and demotivating work system. Mistakes can have a negative impact on sales results and customer service quality. It should be remembered that the word “procedure” in most organizations is associated negatively. Employees often evaluate internal rules as detached from reality and paralyzing work. However, based on my experience, I can write that review of internal procedures are too rarely made by managers. The second common mistake is the lack of regular internal training on the knowledge of procedures. As a result, a common situation in the organization is the situation that commercial activities are carried out based on one criterion – the result of sales, and in accordance with the principle: the end justifies the means. In my opinion, this is a completely wrong approach if we understand commercial procedures only as a way to conclude sales contracts.
I treat commercial procedures as a comprehensive regulation of the scope of work of commercial department. Depending on the type of activity or segment of the market, these types of procedures may contain various regulations. They should also protect the company against widely bad quality sales. I would also like to point out how proper programming of the work system, through the creation of functional procedures. I present below an example catalog of regulations regarding the commercial activities of a large production and trading company:
- Verifying the credibility of contractors.
- Rules for preventing phishing and fraud attempts to the detriment of the company.
- Rules of organizing transport to customers and selection of transport companies.
- Rules for securing payments and financial risks.
- Principles of cooperation with production departments.
The implementation of appropriate trade procedures is aimed at:
- Maximum limitation of transaction risk with clients.
- Fulfilling formal and legal requirements.
- Limiting the risk of losing goods through fraud attempts.
- Provide employees with work comfort by providing precise instructions for dealing with specific cases and documenting work.
It should be emphasized that the last point of the list above is very important when we are talking about relations employer / supervisor – employee. A clearly defined procedure, approved by superiors, clearly delimits the scope of responsibility between these parties. An employee can be assessed for compliance with the interna procedures, while the superior’s responsibility is to correctly construct this regulation.
I propose the following stages of internal procedures implementation on the example of sales regulations:
- Review of current procedures in the field of sales and customer service.
- Mapping all main and side processes in sales and customer service.
- Analysis of transaction risk (from the side of financial security) at individual stages of the sales process.
- Interview with the manager and sales managers on the knowledge of procedures and their actual use.
After the analysis, the individual elements of the procedure should be considered. I do not recommend the implementation of the procedure without previous tests. I suggest checking the individual elements of the procedure by way of business orders. Depending on the needs, the pilot period should last from 3 to 6 months.
Thanks to this approach, the following benefits will be obtained:
- Everyone interested, and later those who apply the procedure, will be involved in its development and thereby become familiar with the purposefulness of regulation and the origin of their creation.
- Employees will be familiar with the new procedure at the pilot stage and will talk about it.
- The implementation of the final document will be quick – it will not require a significant comment or, for example, long training and explanations.
- Employees will get the comfort of work by clearly identifying the paths of action in specific situations.
From the manager’s point of view, the basic benefit is to regulate a significant area of work, which eliminates ad hoc decisions and errors.