Most owners, especially SME businessmen in India, would like their companies to be on auto-pilot. That is where the business owner keeps watch on operations of the company just like pilot does and monitors it with a dashboard of indicators as the business runs on its own. The owner can plan to grow the business or diversify into new business areas and stepping in only when the indicator reflects that something is amiss or if there is a crisis.

Systems driven companies are like autonomous cars. The sensors collect data and feed into a processing unit which uses pre-determined or programmed rules to take decisions. The central processor transmits these decisions to various components such as braking system which in turn is made of several parts such as brakes. As the decision to break the car is transmitted, the braking system gets activated and follows a protocol to reduce the speed of the car. The decision If we take this analogy to companies, purpose is the objective, policies and values provide the guidelines for decision making by managers. The data or information is provided by Management Information Systems. The data comes from different departments with reports being prepared manually or using computers (like Excel, Word etc)  or generated automatically using ERP systems. The data may also come from outside of the company such as data on economic condition prevalent in the country.  Just like in the autonomous cars, where the decisions are implemented using standard processes and protocols by specific components with pre-determined authorizations, in companies, managers implement decisions using defined work flow processes and authorizations.

Business owners can only ensure that their businesses or companies operate on autonomous mode if they setup a robust framework of Polices, processes, procedures and MIS.

An illustrated example of Policies, Processes and Procedures.

Policy – The company would be a prudent and rational buyers. That is company will buy only what it needs and would not pay more than market price

Processes – Indenting process to initiate purchase and competitive process to ensure that the company buys at market or fair price and not at inflated price.

Procedures – Procurement committee with defined Authority Delineation.