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Action Plan

Any company looking to improve its business operations first needs to analyze its weaknesses before creating an action plan for improvement.

Any company looking to improve its business operations first needs to analyze its weaknesses before creating an action plan for improvement. Springfield, MO-based AV integration firm ForresterTech has reached this stage in its Resi Business Makeover.

As I wrote in May, company co-owners, and brothers, Ben and Thad Forrester believe that 2012 is a pivotal year for their integration company. The family-owned and operated firm has generated more revenue each year since it was founded in 2004, but has yet to turn a profit.

That’s where Resi Business Makeover cosponsors and industry consultants Ryan Brown, from Media Environment Design, and Leslie Shiner, from The ShinerGroup, think they can help ForresterTech get “the boulder over the hill,” as the brothers stated in their contest application.

To kick off the makeover process Brown conducted a thorough discovery interview with key members of the ForresterTech team, after having reviewed the company’s process and project documents. The discovery meeting was used to analyze various points in their process as well as to identify specific roles that each employee plays in the process. “Pain points” that had been identified in the contest selection process also were discussed further. These included finding ways to be more efficient and profitable, establishing better workflows, putting proper practices in place to track performance, and learning to identify key performance indicators.

Brown also helped ForresterTech evaluate its D-Tools database for more efficiency. He suggested reducing the number of database items from 21,000 down to less than 5,000, by removing any manufacturers and products that the company realistically never intends to sell. Brown suggested removing packages that are never used, verifying the accuracy of remaining packages, finalizing prewire assemblies so they cover all typical scenarios, and creating new packages for “network equipment,” “rack assemblies,” etc.

After ForresterTech completes the streamlining of its database, Brown intends to implement an internal database maintenance process to keep pricing data up to date; its a problem they’ve struggled to overcome.

For her part, Shiner has begun a file assessment and review (FAR), where she analyzes the company’s QuickBooks data and provides a comprehensive report on its financial set-up, offering recommendations on best practices for using the accounting software.

“Our clients benefit from this service because it helps them determine how to use QuickBooks to better manage their company,” Shiner said. “We also use it to determine if you can utilize your QuickBooks data to evaluate profitability of the different profit centers of your company.”

After completing this valuable service, The ShinerGroup has already begun implementing best practices for Forrester Tech. Not only are they getting this FAR at no charge, but the consulting has already begun, so stay tuned. And readers of Residential Systems will get their own free look at the Resi Business Makeover process during the next few months, perhaps picking up several tips for improving their own businesses along the way.