Organizational structure is essential to growth in any business. An auto repair business – like many other small businesses – delivers services largely predicated on the preferences of their customer base and owner philosophy. Although the product delivered may be similar – the mode of sales and production are what make an auto repair shop what it is. In a small business people may wear many different hats but organizing the responsibilities of the company effectively can allow for growth and success. Not doing so can stunt growth and inhibit progress. Defining organizational structure can be a broad topic but the basic process of doing so is pretty straight forward. Following are six steps to defining organizational structure:
- List the Responsibilities of the Organization – An organization has responsibilities to its stakeholders. Stakeholders include customers, employees and suppliers. Organizational definition starts with a clear definition of responsibilities.
- Group the Responsibilities by Line or Staff – There are 2 distinct types of roles employees assume within an organization. There are line employees who engage directly in the sales and delivery of services and products to customers. In auto repair this generally relates to sales personnel, service advisors and technicians. Secondly there are staff employees who support the line employees. Examples of staff employees in the auto repair industry are parts managers and accounting personnel.
- Determine the Volume of Each Responsibility – Defining organizational structure requires an understanding of the amount of time spent on the various activities within the business. This knowledge allows for separation of responsibilities as well as preparation for organizational growth.
- Define Process Flow – Organizing responsibilities into a structure requires the definition of work flow through the business. In auto repair the primary organizational process is vehicle service sales and fulfillment.
- Design Jobs Based on Responsibility and Process Flow – Process flow and job definitions are interdependent. The formulation of each is based on the other. The key is to define jobs that include primarily line functions or staff functions. Jobs that include too many of both types of responsibilities can lead to conflicts and improper motivation.
- Define Organizational Structure – Organizational structure permits work to be performed in a clearly understood manner. Without organizational structure people will find a way to get things done but the result may not be optimal for the business.