Detecting when processes are getting too stressed

I started saving garden seeds this year. As part of the process I’m doing germination tests on them to make sure they’re viable and likely to grow.

The tests involve keeping them wet and checking on them every few days while recording their progress. The details aren’t important here.

What is important is my record-keeping process.

I started by using a sticky note. It works fine when testing 2-3 sets of seeds over a week, but it quickly runs out of room if the test takes the full two weeks or if more than 3 sets are tested at once.

I used a second sticky note but now the dates are slightly askew and I’m needing a third and soon a fourth (summertime is busy).

With so many notes there’s a risk of losing one and the weeks of data it had.

The process I had worked fine at a small scale (3 sets) but with growth (5 sets) it started to fall apart at the seems. I can see it needing to grow even more (8 sets soon) so it’ll be better to reinvent the process now to handle the growth.

Growth does this with many things. Business growing pains are a such a common occurrence that they get written up frequently.

One key point is to notice when growth starts show a problem. Spot that early and you can get in front of it. Starting my second sticky note and considering a third is the key point for me.

For your store that key point might be how long orders take to ship, how much overtime your employees put in, or even a metric like your average orders per month increasing every month.

If you can find and measure a few key areas, those can serve as a warning system of growth and stress to processes. Order and customer based ones could be tracked by Repeat Customer Insights in metrics like average orders per month, repeat purchase rate, and new-vs-repeat orders.

You’ll likely have multiple key points to watch, maybe a handful for each department or area of responsibility in your store.

Eric Davis

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