Configuring Your Business Factory: Powered By Predictable Processes

Table of Contents

    Jeff Loehr  
    Let’s talk a little bit about factories today. And Joe, honestly, you are the factory man. I’ve never seen anyone more in love with zip ties.

    Joe Rojas  
    Zip ties are freaking amazing! Back when I was an MSP, I learned that no matter how well you made the technology work or how good the software worked and the process, if it looked like crap, nobody cared.

    Jeff Loehr  
    That relates nicely to this idea of a factory. You’ve got to have your processes, but then you need the space, tools, and structure to consistently ensure that you deliver those processes. You need that factory.

    Joe Rojas  
    Some people initially struggle with the concept of a factory because they don’t think of their business as “manufacturing” they don’t believe they are building anything. But you know, I think we’re going to challenge that a little bit today.

    Jeff Loehr  
    So let’s talk about factories. The first factory I visited was truly a manufacturing factory. I couldn’t believe how genius this thing was. It was in Germany and they were manufacturing the Smart engines for Smart cars, which had just become a brand new thing. It was just unbelievable to me that all these raw materials, steel scraps, and spark plugs would all go in the back end. And then, out of the front end, came an engine for a car. It just went through the process of being melted, formed, stamped, drilled, put together, created, and done all the way through. Many entrepreneurs don’t think they have factories, you know why?

    Joe Rojas  
    Because they don’t have a product. So, why would you have a factory if you don’t have a product?

    Jeff Loehr  
    But not having a product is an excuse that allows you to do a lot of work with minimal results. You always have to have a product. If you have a product with processes, you must be sure that you have the tools, environment, and structure to deliver them. 

    I’ve got two more factories to talk about, and the next one is diamonds and the centralized selling organizations that DeBeers created. The product was that interest in and the value of the diamond. I’m a trained diamond sorter, among other things. And so I went to training in Antwerp, and it’s unbelievable that you go into this room, and they’ve got these vaults and cameras, and once you go through that door, you cannot do anything without a camera watching you. At the end, closest to the table, all of the cheap diamonds and small diamonds go into these big Rubbermaid tubs that get wider and bigger as you go down. And as you go back towards the back benches, the bench in the back has four or five diamonds on them that are 10 or 15 carats and perfectly white and beautiful. Part of the process is separating all the diamonds into these categories. Then they bundle up the diamonds into packs called sites, and then you would go into a room with the exact right lighting where you can look at 10 times magnification. They’ve got some refreshments. The whole thing is manufactured so that you go into that room, and you get this array of diamonds laid out in front of you, and you have to figure out how much you will bid for this array of diamonds. They could just have an auction, another process, but they realized they’re giving away too much value if they do.

    Joe Rojas  
    So they manufacture an experience.

    Jeff Loehr  
    They manufacture an experience. They manufacture the service. The rooms are the same as other rooms. They standardized the lighting, they thought about how they separate the diamonds or whether the diamonds are cut or not cut. They’re always uncut, by the way, but that’s a part of the process. They have all of the tools that they need to deliver that experience. 

    The third factory that I want to talk about is McKinsey. And the McKinsey office that I know the best is in London. If you look at everything that McKinsey does to prepare for meetings, they have a standard way of creating slides. They create all of their documents around different approaches to business or other approaches to solutions and how they will engage with clients. At what point will they pitch? Will they not pitch? How will they go from the pitch through to the delivery? How do they staff? How do they bill? All of this stuff is defined. None of it’s left to chance. And when you go into that McKinsey office space, you feel like you’re in someplace special. They do a lot to make you feel like you’re someplace special because you’re paying them a fortune. It’s not a garage with a couple of folding chairs and some guy saying, Yeah, we’re going to charge you a million dollars for a strategy.

    Joe Rojas  
    Whether you’re manufacturing an engine or manufacturing an experience, there is a process that you have to go through.

    Jeff Loehr  
    And you have to do that process within a factory. So even if you have the perfect fit and take the ideal McKinsey approach and invite somebody to your garage to deliver it, you can only charge what McKinsey charges if you have the factory. And a part of their factory is all of the software that they have, the way that they connect individuals, the way that they give each other access to information. These allow them to deliver the process and support they deliver to their clients. So many of our MSP clients treat their work as random. They need the tools, to set things up, and to make it work. And because they don’t have the tools and that environment within which to do their work, they can’t deliver the quality and level of service that their clients expect. 

    A lot of the factory these days comes down to the software. What is your technology stack? What components do you use? How do you tie it all together? How do you make it work so that you can deliver consistent results repeatedly without reimagining everything every time? And so often, so many people make these manual connections between systems or copy something out here and put it there, making their lives difficult with their systems. Your factory should be delivering results for you. It should increase the predictability of your company.

    Joe Rojas  
    And if you never build a repeatable process, it’s all dependent on you forever. And then you’re stuck. You’ve built yourself a really fancy job. 

    Jeff Loehr  
    You’ve created for yourself a lot of work. So put tools in place to make your job effective, or to make your business effective, and your job within that business more effective. Ask yourself, what do you need in order to deliver the solution that you are delivering?

    Joe Rojas  
    What technology do you need? What office space do you need? What if you wanted to create an experience like the McKinsey experience for your client? Whether you’re a lawyer, you’re an accountant, you’re an MSP, what are the things required to give your client the best possible experience?

    Jeff Loehr  
    And if you think of those central selling organizations, what did they need? They needed private space, they needed the right lighting, they needed the right magnification, they needed a level of comfort to get people to participate the right way and to get the results that they expected. 

    Joe Rojas  
    The room, lighting, refreshments, and everything is conducive to having the outcome they want.

    Jeff Loehr  
    And it’s consistent with the experience that the company wants them to have. So think about what tools you need to put in place and how you can build the factory. Think of that factory as putting all of these things together to allow you to execute all of those processes.

    Joe Rojas  
    And remember that you are loved.

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