In this series of blog posts, I will be taking a look at the main sections of ISO 9001, what they are, why they are important ...
This 101 is looking at Section 8.1 Operational Planning and Control. Why is this important to my business? Whatever your product or service, you need to plan its delivery to customers somehow. You need to know if you can deliver your product or service on time, with the right resources and people available to enable this to happen.
When you accept a new order for work, you naturally assess the risks. For instance, does the customer have a good credit record? Or, do you have enough employees to cope with this order? This is important if the company is not to leave itself open to being unable to fulfil customer requirements.
Proper planning enables you to bring in more resource when needed, such as hiring more people or equipment. It also means you can plan your finances to cover any shortfall you may have by increasing overdrafts and so forth.
How do I manage this? Well, it will vary depending on your business. For a service based micro business, you may simply use a group calendar or even a whiteboard. For a larger product-based business you may use CRM, ERP or other software systems to help plan your workload and resources required. These can be brilliant.
One of my Clients even has a great piece of software where you put the customer requirements in, and it does all the rest for them from quoting to scheduling the work.
Be aware you need to plan for internal resources as well as external. If your contractors or materials are not available, that may delay the job. This is where risk management comes in. If you assess the risk, you are more likely to be able to cope when things don't go according to plan. It is also worth having a business continuity plan just in case something more severe occurs (thinking of storm Gareth and other natural disasters!).
Many of the companies I have worked with have found it useful to have an independent person to work with them to help understand the requirements and how to implement them.
If you would like to know more about anything I've mentioned in this blog post, do give me a call on 01858 414226 or leave a comment below and let's see how I can help you.