A company acts in the external environment and has to follow the business logic identified to do business. When the management system is designed it has to interact with the business logic in a fruitful way. There are lots of needs, behavior and requirements that are important as input for design. But you have to focus the basics on what is most important and create the fundaments in the management system based on this. It is important to identify a vital few key success factors.

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You may think of different companies and try to figure out what their key success factors might be. IKEA; furniture that is substantially cheaper compared to competitors? BOEING; airplanes that is safe to fly? APPLE; offer the coolest mobile devices? The way these companies have designed their management system does of course vary a lot. If the management system has an effective design it should be possible to monitor its performance based on key success factors. It should also be possible to identify which elements interacts in the management system to enable wanted performance.

Key success factors are not only direct requirements on the management system (speed, delivery precision, environmental impact, etc.). Characters related to the products or services, offered to customers, are as well key success factors. It can be innovation level in a product, knowledge available in a service, cost level, availability on request, etc. This means that vital product characters, viewed as important to be successful in the business logic, are as well key success factors for the design of the management system.

Unfortunately too many companies lack the connection between key success factors and the design of their management system. An example can be built in quality control to ensure highest requirements on product quality when product innovation is more important than quality. Another example can be outsourced helpdesk to foreign country when customers are elderly people that only speak their native language. This situation most often leads decrease effectiveness; company will have hard time to be successful, even though the management system can be in very good control.

If you have problem to identify key success factors I can recommend the use of Order Qualifiers & Order Winners. Terry Hill, professor at the London Business School introduced a concept of Order Qualifiers & Order Winners (Hill, 2000) to be used for the strategy work. An order qualifier is what makes an offer, or possible offer, attractive for a customer. An order winner is about what makes the customer decide to buy. These two types of key success factors are, if nothing else, important to understand in order to do the design of the management system.

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