World-renowned Software Engineer Watts Humphrey once said, “If you don’t know where you are, a map won’t help.” Known as the “Father of Software Quality,” Humphrey was referring to the process of software development, of course, and not a geographical location.
His statement highlights the logic of using your company’s current state to determine what needs to be done to achieve its desired state. And determining where your business is now is the first step of a Needs Assessment.
Simply put, a Needs Assessment as a systemic process that measures the differences between where your business is today and where you want it to be tomorrow. It identifies what’s working well, what needs improvement, and what’s missing. Finally, it identifies the specific actions you should take to get to your desired destination. A Needs Assessment can (and should) be used throughout every facet of your business.
For example, a holistic Needs Assessment would include your company’s workforce challenges, like recruitment, training, and employee retention. It would also address your company’s financial, business development, sales, and marketing challenges. Your company’s information technology, operations, and production processes would also be assessed.
Your company’s project managers and process improvement teams play key roles here. They use Needs Assessment results to identify which services and functions are missing, which are unnecessary, and which need development. In smaller companies, Needs Assessments can help business owners determine resource allocation.
There’s a business owner in Central CT (we’ll call him “Fred”) who is a brilliant engineer and inventor. He owns three companies, two that are successful and one that is struggling. He frequently admits, “I’m an inventor, not a businessman.” In fact, Fred’s so focused on his inventions that he often overlooks other important details, like business development and marketing. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “He can’t see the forest for the trees.” That’s Fred. A Needs Assessment, performed by an objective third party, would identify his companies’ shortcomings and, ultimately, make them all much more profitable.
Although Fred has the resources to conduct his own Needs Assessment, using an objective third party is a much better option. Company employees are often biased, and office politics can get in the way of identifying problem areas.
The Connecticut Manufacturers Resource Group (CTmrg.com) objectively conducts Needs Assessments to help companies reach their desired destinations. We’ll show you where you are and provide you with a map to help you get where you want to be. Contact us for more information.