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Business Process Improvement

I have written processes for several industries, designing solutions to technical challenges as well as addressing the cultural changes needed to have the new process fit in the company.

If you are wondering what ways your business might improve if your processes were leaner and better fit your company's culture, let's talk. I can work with you to discover what are the important improvements for your business, that could be implemented quickly.

Lean processes are more satisfying, and less frustrating, for almost everyone in the organization.

You will:

  • Waste less time doing things that are not important to your clients.
  • Serve more clients, while offering more that your clients want.
  • Make more money.

Web site modernization

Converting old web sites is too tedious and time consuming to do, using the processes most web designers use.

These web sites are difficult to maintain (often having complex formatting embedded in the text of the site), and were not written so they would be found in search engines by potential clients.

If you want to change the appearance of these sites, you would have to re-code them to remove the embedded formatting, very detailed and tedious work.

If you want to change the menus or navigation structure you would have to modify each page affected by the change, since the navigation was embedded in each page. Even making sure you have applied all the changes consistently to each page is too much work!

I can quickly give you a web site using standard HTML and style sheets, easy to maintain. They can follow the modern style sheet used for your newer pages, or if you don't have a modern style sheet I can install one.

All the standard elements on a page (the menus, the contact form, the copyright notice, etc.) will be in separate files, included by your server so when you change the one place the element is defined, your whole site reflects the change.

The converted site would have the beginnings of search engine optimization; pages that were important could be quickly modified for full search engine optimization.

Data extraction

Is there information on web sites that you need to run your business? How do you bring that information into your business?

Most companies waste time and money re-typing information from web pages, or from computer files in a different format than they are needed in. Then they have to proof read and correct the information that was re-typed.

I can set up computer scripts and give you step-by-step instructions for using them (simple, and take much less time than retyping!), to read the information from multiple web sites, bringing it together into a database. Then you can use it throughout your business.

Help desk and technical support

Small changes in the ways your technical support people interact with customers, make a huge difference in how satisfied your customers are with them.These changes will be easy for your technical support people to implement consistently, since their work will be more satisfying. Call for Help Desk Training.

Real estate investment, property screening

There are thousands of properties on the market, or owned by banks, available at the best prices in decades. How do you evaluate all the properties? You need to find the best deals quickly, with the minimum amount of effort wasted checking properties that are priced too high.

I can take information published on multiple web sites, including the property address, rooms, size, and estimates from multiple sources, and combine the information in a database. You can then search for the properties that match your investing criteria.

Only get appraisals and inspections on the few properties that are most likely to be great deals.

Bid quoting and tracking

I improved the processes for finding competitive bids, pricing equipment from multiple vendors, preparing quotes rapidly and with cross-checks to make sure bids were profitable and accurate. I also improved the tracking of all bids, from initially locating the bid to fulfillment of the orders. The company was able to handle almost triple the number of bids with the same staff.

Purchasing computer equipment and software

I have clarified the computer requirements for several companies, located equipment, recommended what software to get. I can train your purchasers to buy products that meet your business needs (instead of the latest technical features most computer sales people would recommend, that might not have any impact on increasing productivity).

Diagnostic and trouble shooting

I have a unique perspective on what works and doesn't work, for having an extraordinary help desk.

In most companies, the help desk is an expense to cut as deeply as possible. It can be a source of major performance increases, if run propertly. The people who are good on help desks are problem solvers, able to diagnose complex systems, able to find solutions that boost productivity.

I coach people on help desks so they rapidly take care of recurring problems, and then focus on finding opportunities for departments to improve how well they perform. There are specific ways to communicate and coordinate activities that lead to problems being solved much more rapidly, and with customers left feeling delighted how well they, and their computer's problems, were taken care of.

In one company, I redesigned the help desk reporting system. The old system showed mis-guided "performance metrics" that resulted in people closing issues as rapidly as possible, even if they missed solving the problem at all from the customer's perspective. The new system showed:

  • what software was causing the most problems,
  • which departments were having the most problems,
  • what categories of problems occurred most frequently,
  • the changes over time, so mangement could see at a glance what to focus on and where improvements had been made.

Those problems got targeted, and rapidly taken care of. The number of calls to the help desk were reduced; actual time to solve the problems (from initial report to full resolution) dropped dramatically; the most costly problems were taken care of for everyone at once instead of each person having to call the problem in before getting it fixed.

Donation processing

I wrote processes for taking care of donations at several non-profit organizations. They tend to have work done by volunteers or temporary staff at key times (often November and December). I documented the steps, in complete detail, for each donation appeal; for each fund raising event; for all the special cases the organization had.

During the most crucial times, everyone knew exactly how to take care of each donation. Everyone who made a donation got the appropriate thank you letter (or none, if they had requested not to get one, and their requests were recorded and followed in the future). People who should get special attention, for example major donors or people who influenced groups to donate, reliably did.

With all information being entered in the system consistently, reporting became easier and more detailed. One organization was able to see at zip code level where people gave the most annually (whether one large donation or multiple donations through the year), and some nearby zip codes got special attention to increase future donations. They also saw that in some zip codes, people gave a couple of times a year, making their total donations larger than had been recognized, and those people got properly acknowledged; people in those zip codes got different appeals for donations.

Workshop audio production

I wrote manuals for training people to run audio for many workshops. Especially since many workshops have people running audio who are not already knowledgeable technically, clear instructions for setting up and testing the equipment, and configuring it for best quality sound and most flexible control of the microphones, is greatly needed.

For workshops with multiple instructors and participants speaking, there is a way to pay attention to what is going on in the room, and what is about to happen, that results in production of the entire workshop run smoothly. I coach audio teams to be partners with the production team and workshop leaders in having every aspect of producing the workshop happen beautifully.

In many workhsops, the audio team can influence the power of the workshop for the participants. As the only people who are there solely to be listening, they can be listening for the intention of each section of the workshop being fulfilled. This affects how deeply the participants are listening, and workshop leaders speak more clearly and powerfully when they are being listened to powerfully. The quality of attention the audio team has on the workshop leaders can make the workshop great!

Workshop supplies

Some groups have supplies work effortlessly; others seem to endlessly have problems.

I set up supply systems so even groups with different people producing workshops each week can have supplies work, consistently. The quantity needed (without surplus supplies being purchased, a huge un-necessary expense), where they will be used, in the order they will be needed. And then when it is time to pack up after the workshop, the teams know where to put supplies away, so the next workshop has what it needs.