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Refocus Examples: Using Refocus to Improve a Small Business print this page

Refocus is a dynamic software template for developing new products and markets, and improving your existing business and products.

  • Shift some of the time spent reacting to emergencies to solving problems before they occur
  • Enter ideas when they are thought of and strategically develop them into products and services that match customer needs and produce the highest revenue
  • Document your business and business processes so they can be improved.
  • Regularly solve problems and enact improvements that save time and save money
  • Refocus has the ‘Virtual Guide’ on-line help system that includes hundreds of video clips that guide you through the improvement and management methods

Specific areas that can be improved:

  • The sales process used to sell your products and services
  • Management of collections
  • Developing new products or services
  • Existing products and services
  • The order fulfillment process
  • Purchasing decisions
  • Customer service 

Benefits of doing the Refocus process:

  • Describes business as starting point to build on
  • Allows consistent improvement activities even in the hectic business environment
  • Allows the strategic improvement of important areas of the business
  • Encourages business owner/manager to be in the habit of improving the business
  • Creates an interactive model of the business for continually improving
  • Allows periodic refocusing of the business products and services on customer needs
  • Gets rid of problems so that increased business growth activities can be accomplished
  • Organizes documents related to parts of the business to be readily accessible
  • Allows easy management of ‘dynamic’ documents (updated weekly or monthly) so they are readily accessible
  • Small business moves very quickly. Refocus is a dynamic planning and action system that allows change as fast as the business.
  • Dynamic adding of new product, market, or development ideas into development pipeline

 

Improvement Process

Build model of business as it exists:

  • Enter general information, e.g. people, size of company, products, services, market, sales methods
  • Enter processes performed by company:
  • Sales process for each product/service
  • Order fulfillment process, e.g. purchasing through final delivery and install
  • Execution process for any services
  • Financial Processes; e.g. collections, taxes reporting and payment, customer payment, bills payment, financial arrangements
  • Manufacturing process for all products
  • Office procedures processes; e.g. mailing, filing, computer vs. hardcopy systems
  • Customer service processes; e.g. problem resolution, information transfer

Identify list of problems that the company is presently experiencing

  • Rank the problems in order of importance
  • Describe the problems in more detail, starting with the most important
  • What do the problems cost the company

Determine solutions to the problems

  • List solutions for top problems and rank them
  • Describe the solutions further and choose best solutions to implement
  • Make implementation plan for putting the solutions in place

List problems for each process area

  • Determine which process areas need the most help (have the highest cost problems)
  • Continue the problems & solutions process for each process area starting with the most important
  • Determine list of ‘best’ solutions to implement

Review the list of all of the ‘ranked’ solutions entered so far

  • Determine the best of the best solutions and make a realistic plan to implement the best solutions

 

New Business Development

Refocus allows new ideas for markets, products, services, or even concepts to build on, to be added whenever they are thought of. Then they are systematically developed to allow the best ideas (that fit into the business strategy) to be implemented to expand the business.

The development process

  • Quickly enter ideas for new markets, products, services, or concepts for development into the system when they are thought of
  • Periodically review the ideas at each stage of the development pipeline to decide what actions need to be done to move the best ideas forward
  • Perform financial scenarios on potential new products to see the effects on profit
  • Analyze your product mix to determine the best mix of products and services to meet customer needs and generate the highest profit
  • Add new products and services to grow the business

 

On-going business management activities

  • Set up management documents for regular review (weekly, quarterly, and yearly documents)
  • Set up performance benchmarks for checking progress to goals
  • Identify and solve problems as they occur so they are not repeated
  • Have procedures in place that streamline activities

 

Value Analysis

Value Analysis matches the business, a product, or process more closely to customer needs and eliminates unnecessary costs.

Value Analysis can be performed on the business as a whole, the main products or services, or individual processes, such as, customer service, order fulfillment, purchasing, sales, etc.

The Value Analysis Process:

  • Identify the product, service, or process to improve (we will use a product for this example)
  • Describe the product in detail
  • General info: description, customer markets, selling methods, manufacturing process, etc.
  • Financial info: costs, profit, break even info if it is a start up product

List the benefits or ‘Value Elements’ that your customer receives from the product

  • ‘Value Elements’ are what the product does for the customer, not how it does it.
  • Perform an internal or customer survey to rank the benefits ‘value elements’ in importance to the customer.

Determine how much of the product cost is used to deliver each ‘Value Element’

  • Allocate a percent of each cost out to each ‘value element’.
  • You will now have a list of value elements with their associated ‘cost’ to the company to deliver

Identify cost to value mismatches

  • Compare the costs of each value element to the ranking of how important each value element is to the customer
  • A ‘high cost’ value element that is ranked ‘low’ in customer importance means that too much is being spent to provide that ‘benefit’ or ‘value element’.
  • A ‘low cost’ value element that is ranked high in customer importance means that not enough is being done to satisfy the customer for that ‘value element’ or benefit.

Determine ‘solutions’ for each cost-value mismatch that will better match the cost to the value the customer receives from the value element

  • List the possible solutions and rank them
  • Determine which solutions are best and make an implementation plan for the best of the best solutions.
  • Implement the best solutions.
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