Planning for Growth – Lessons from QR

Queensland Rail is in damage control following the opening of the new Redcliffe Peninsula line in early October. The controversy has already claimed the jobs of two executives when the new line was opened without adequate staff to deliver the new service. Drivers and guards had to be pulled from other services resulting in cancellations and delays across the network.

According to Translink Tracker quarterly reports, customers already question the affordability of public transport options in Queensland. The risk now is that the cancellations and delays to services being experienced on the train network will further reduce customer satisfaction and ultimately hit the bottom line.

So what can we learn from this?

The consequences of not effectively planning for growth can have far reaching effects on a business. Businesses have long used the principles of quality assurance to guarantee that business processes are efficient and effective. The foundation of quality assurance, as detailed in ISO9001, is the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle.

  • Have a plan
  • Allocate adequate resources and deliver on the plan
  • Evaluate performance
  • Act on improvements identified

Planning for business growth.

The first step is to identify your business goals and then distil these down into objectives and targets. For this to be successful, objectives should be S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound). By using these criteria as a guide for objectives it makes them easier to be communicated and understood and to know if they have been accomplished.

Once the goals, objectives and targets are defined you’ll need a road map for how they are going to be achieved. An action plan is key to turning ideas into reality. Action plans should detail the steps to fulfilling the goals, assign responsibilities and timelines for completion as well as track progress.  This is where requirements for resourcing should become apparent. Tools like conducting a SWOT analysis (strength, weakness, opportunity, threat), budgeting, and reviewing resourcing and training needs are critical inputs at this stage to enable realistic and effective planning and make delivery smoother later on.

While this may seem like a lot of work before any real action is taken having a clearly defined plan makes the delivery as efficient and effective as possible. Remembering that that you will need to monitor performance indicators and not be afraid to admit that there might be a better way of doing things to enable to most successful outcomes.

Having an effectively implemented Quality Management System based on ISO9001 in place can step out the process of effective growth and ensure your organisation is prepared for wider business risks you might face. Masula Compliance has helped many of our clients develop and implement such systems. Call us if you would like more information on how a Quality Management System could benefit your business.