Solving System Problems
System problems are called ?constraints.? A constraint is a limitation or restriction. Our system can be constrained at any point in the process. Here?s the most common constraints regarding the sales cycle system.
- Market. The market is an external constraint. Your target market may not be responsive to your product or marketing. The market may be shifting or you have competition. Study market constraints and adapt to the conditions to resolve them.
- Resources. Resources are an internal constraint. You may be short staffed and having a hard time hiring the right people. Your production facilities may be falling behind and inventory is low. You may be out of certain parts your customers are ordering. Resources are internal things that build the process.
- Supplier/Vendor. Suppliers and vendors are an external constraint. If your supplier is late in delivering goods to you and you have to push back your customer deliveries, this is a supplier constraint.
- Financial. The financial constraint is usually internal. If you don?t have the money to do marketing or if you can?t afford sales people to cover your market these are financial constraints.
- Knowledge/Competence. Organizations need to be adaptable and be able to change to market conditions and needs. In some cases, the knowledge or competence to change isn?t there. New systems, processes or tools are needed to change the way a company does business and the company resists the change.
You will face constraints in your marketing and sales efforts. Here?s a five-step process to overcome these constraints.
Step 1: Identify the Problem
Select the problem to be analyzed. Clearly define the problem and establish a precise problem statement. Set a measurable goal for the problem-solving effort and establish a process for coordinating with and gaining approval of leadership
Step 2: Analyze the Process
Identify potential cause of the problem. Collect and analyze data related to the problem. Identify root causes of the problem. Collect additional data if needed to verify root causes.
Step 3: Develop Solutions
Select a solution. Gain approval and support for the chosen solution. Plan the solution. Implement the chosen solution on a trial or pilot basis
Step 4: Evaluate the Results
Gather data on the solution. Analyze the data on the solution. Achieved the Desired Goal? If you removed the constraint continue to Step 5. If you didn?t remove the constraint go back to Step 1 and start over.
Step 5: Standardize the Solution
Identify systemic changes and training needs for full implementation. Adopt the solution. Plan ongoing monitoring of the solution. Continue to look for incremental improvements to refine the solution. Look for another improvement opportunity