Blog

2016 March

How to Create Repeatable Processes

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Do you have a finger on the pulse of the everyday processes that propel your organization? That really isn’t on anyone’s job description, right? Making sure X, Y and Z get done is something that someone is in charge of, but how it’s accomplished isn’t always managed as effectively as it could be, if at all.

Without established repeatable processes, you can’t ensure efficiency, quality or consistency. The term “repeatable process” sounds boring, but in all reality, establishing repeatable processes can take your business to new heights.

A repeatable process is when you take a routine or daily process and create step by step instructions that reduce that process to the fewest, most valuable tasks with a logical order of operations. Basically, you’re eliminating room for inefficiencies.

Creating Repeatable Processes

-Every step should have a clear objective; a defined stop and start.

-The next step can only begin when the previous step has been completed.

-Every step is laid out in a logical order of operations.

-The documented process is not only made accessible to all relevant people, but it is mandatory to follow.

The Benefits of Repeatable Processes

-Repeatable processes reduce or eliminate decision making. Therefore the outcomes of each process will have fewer or no differences.

-Fewer decisions will also increase the efficiency of work, creating fewer pauses or roadblocks.

-Repeatable processes create consistency.

-With a streamlined workflow, metrics can be more effectively and accurately tracked and acted upon.

When you consider how many processes are carried out each day, the idea of creating these documented repeatable processes can be overwhelming. We get it, but consider looking at it from a different perspective. Yes, there are a ton of everyday processes to streamline and document, but every one of them is an opportunity to save resources, instill efficiencies, manage quality and make consistency a priority.

Repeatable processes are extremely beneficial in any organization, but when they are part of your workflow software, the benefits are magnified. That’s what we do, we create software that makes repeatable processes simple and transparent. It’s not always easy to envision what that looks like in your own organization, so let us help with that vision. Contact us today.

The Volano Core Values

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When you first start out on a business venture, there is an emphasis on logistics, responsibilities and accountability -getting this thing off the ground, basically. What very often gets overlooked, are the reasons you started out in the first place. You can make money doing a lot of things, so what else is it about what you do or offer that drives you and your team?

At Volano Solutions, we wanted to make sure those things didn’t get buried and forgotten, or worse yet, never even established. So, us founders got together and ironed out the Volano Core Values; the five things we never want to lose sight of.

  1. Learn Constantly

This was a no-brainer for us. Being in the software industry, complacency will kill a business faster than just about anything else. The technology that drives our industry is constantly evolving. Beyond that, we make custom software, so no two clients or solutions are the same. Templatizing a solution isn’t even an option, so we established an emphasis on continued learning, not only for our company leaders, but for every member of the team.

  1. Perform to Completion

We knew we didn’t want to be known for providing “okay” solutions. We didn’t want customers walking away with an 80% solution and “making it work”. We wanted to be known for tailored, seamless solutions that make operational pain points a thing of the past. In this vein we knew our process and procedures had to be thorough and holistic to ensure accurate delivery and complete satisfaction.

  1. Take Pride in Our Work

We like to say that we enter partnerships, not transactions. Traditionally, custom software has been a one-time purchase, but that business model simply won’t work going forward. Software, and the technology that it works in and around, has to be updated. We are focused on life-time relationships with our clients to continually ensure those 100% solutions are still relevant and efficient. We realize that the software you run your organization with has a ripple effect. We don’t just want our clients to be satisfied, we want their customers, vendors and partners to be amazed.

  1. Adapt Easily

We also knew we wanted to stay as flexible as possible. Again, no two clients or solutions are the same, so getting to that holistic, seamless solution takes transparent communication and the ability to make smart pivots. So, we make an effort to remain a small but mighty team of flexible software developers who can go with the flow and find the best path to each tailored solution.

  1. Be Fun

It was also not too hard for us to establish we all wanted to create a work environment that we actually wanted to be part of. We emphasize the importance of a work/life balance, here. We want to give our software developers the opportunity for happiness in every facet of their lives. If they need to head out early on Friday, that’s fine, but they are usually down for a few beers and darts. There’s no way around it, happy employees make happy clients, that’s why “be fun” made it on this short list. Getting employees invested in your success is a two-way street.

Check out how our company culture delivers for Volano Solutions clients.

 

Answer These 5 Questions to Find Out if Custom Software is for You

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You may have caught the buzz about custom software in small- and medium-size businesses. For a while, this was a luxury only afforded to larger businesses, but today, custom software is a standard for nimble, efficient businesses of all sizes. The evolution of custom software for organizational workflows has made its way into even the smallest of businesses. Firstly, the technology is now more affordable, secondly, the ROI has been proven time and again, and lastly, custom workflow software smoothes out pain points, saving resources and sanity.

A lot of business leaders come to us unsure if they even need custom software. Here are some questions that will help you discover if custom workflow software is right for you and your organization.

Is your team trying to “share” spreadsheets?

Spreadsheets are great for small tasks with virtually no moving parts. They are not great for the efficient storage, organization and utilization of data where more than one person is involved. Simply put, spreadsheets are not designed to replace project management solutions or real databases. The functionality is simply not there.

Do your business systems dictate your processes?

One of the biggest advantages custom software brings to the table is that it works with your processes, rather than dictating them. When you have multiple, out of the box, rigid systems working “together”, your processes become cumbersome and disjointed. Custom workflow software smooths out those bumps and ridges, to make work flow.

Do you manually input data into two or more systems?

This is a time suck and increases the likelihood of entering incorrect information. There is no reason multiple people should be inputting multiple sets of data into multiple systems. Custom software ensures that data needs only to be entered once, and then populates the correct fields and systems seamlessly.

Are You Continuously Recreating Processes and Workflows?

If you and your team are having to continuously recreate the wheel, it’s time to use custom software to create, implement and maintain repeatable processes with work queues that increase accountability and transparency. Your team can work smarter, not harder

Did you accidentally lose track of over 500 weapons in Afghanistan?

So the answer to this one might be “no…?” but we had to work this in. Long story short, the Pentagon created an shoddy, albeit elaborate system to track the weapons they were sending to Afghanistan. Here’s the jist of it (this may sound familiar, only not with guns)…

“It turns out there are three databases meant to track the small arms, which include rifles, pistols, machine guns, grenade launchers and shotguns. One is a Defense Department listing of all those shipped from the United States. The second is a Defense Department listing of all those received in Afghanistan. They rely heavily on the serial numbers of the arms. But these numbers must be entered manually, and the two databases — one showing shipments and one showing receipts — are inexplicably not linked together. The results are not pretty.”

The custom software to make your processes and operations seamless is here, it’s affordable, accessible, and it has become the new standard in business. Relentless in the study of business operations and the best ways to leverage technology as your competitive advantage, we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. Some challenges can be met with existing solutions, while others need to be created from scratch. Together we’ll implement a solution crafted to enhance the efficiency, accountability, accuracy and transparency of your organization as a whole. Let’s start today.

We Love Building Stuff

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The developers at Volano have a passion for building. Some of our developers are into woodworking, some of them are part of the Omaha Makers Group (http://omahamakergroup.org), and every one of us loves to build solutions. We love building solutions for businesses in the form of customized software; it’s what we’re great at. That being said, we don’t mind copping to what we aren’t so great at, and that is design.

There is something to be said for playing to your strengths and embracing your weaknesses. We know that design is not in our wheelhouse, so we have always brought in a partner for creative design talent. When design and function can work together, it’s a beautiful thing. In our process, design comes first, then we go to work on building the software to make that design interactive. After years of refining this tandem process, we have mastered the collaborative process between developer and designer to ensure we hold to the designer’s vision, while providing our technical prowess.

Our focus has always been understanding the flow of business operations and building solutions that make work easier, reduce resources or increase efficiency. Because we’re so confident in our proven process, we’re evolving. Our mastery of workflow solutions combined with our ability to implement the designs, incorporate interactive details and manage hosting, gives us the ability to be holistic in our technical approach with our partners.

We’ve decided it’s time to formalize this offering as Volano Interactive. We have partnered with local branding and design firm, Turnpost (http://www.turnpost.com). Their work speaks for itself, but we’ll go ahead and attest to it anyhow. For over 20 years, Turnpost Creative Group has been engaging and developing brands at every level of enterprise. Their strategic and tactical approach to developing the aesthetic of a website pairs perfectly with our approach to creating customized, seamless software that simply flows, beautifully we might add.

Put simply, we now have a core group dedicated to taking design work and building it out for the web. Our partnership with Turnpost allows us to offer the best in the worlds of design and software that Omaha has to offer.

Not only are we offering a superior finished product, our differentiator is that the completion of your site isn’t the completion of our working relationship with you; it’s the beginning. The “build and bye” firms won’t last. That business model is simply no longer sustainable with rapidly evolving technologies and consumer trends. We don’t enter transactions; we enter partnerships. We’re excited to take this relationship with Turnpost, and our passion for creating and building to the next level of website development.