Make your business operations more efficient with runners, repeaters and strangers.
What are runners, repeaters and strangers I hear you ask?
Runners, repeaters and strangers are business lean technique terms to help identify each business operation process. Make sure that you have the right mix while making sure that your business is running as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
The ideal situation is to have as many as runners as possible, with some repeaters, and only have one or two strangers.
The process used to recruit new staff members into the business, from making the decision to hire a new person, to engaging a recruitment agent with a brief, to carrying out the candidate interview process and sending out the offer or rejection letter
The sales process undertaken in order to close potential new business using the sales cycle process and procedures
The manufacturing process of a product, from the point of a sales order being raised, and it being produced in the factory, to leaving the warehouse to be shipped to the customer
These are less common processes and are usually less efficient than runners. Examples of repeaters would be processes that only happen once in a while, which may be a regular basis, such as carrying out an audit of your annual accounts. Another example would be a large order which requires some bespoke, manual work, and effort in order to fulfil the order.
These are costly processes that should also be rare (because they are costly!). The cost is not only a financial one, but it’s one of time, effort, and human resources. An example of a stranger may include a situation in which a brand new product is being brought to market, and everything is being done for the first time. As a result, the learning curve is steep, and the process is inefficient. Another example of a stranger is if the business goes for a huge tendering process, which requires all documentation and materials to be written for the first time. If a stranger process can be re-used while savings are made (thus more efficient), it will become a repeater.
- Write down the headline for each of your current processes and tag them accordingly as runners, repeaters, and strangers.
- Draw up the process steps as a diagram and identify where improvements can be made such as:
- Delegate or outsource to someone who costs less and can provide the same if not better quality.
- Automate manual tasks.
- Introduce templates to standardise ‘things’ – emails, documents.
- Use checklists to make sure that each step is correctly completed.
- Remove a process step altogether when it’s not needed.
- Combine process steps where possible.
- Prioritise the improvements, eg:
- Biggest financial savings first
- Most time saved
- Less manpower needed
- Manual to automation
- Implement the improvements!
- Review each process tag – has a repeater become a runner?