June 2013

Jerry Tyler

Blue Highways | by Jerry Tyler


Systems for Success

With all the advances in salon technology, many tools and software have been developed to help us grow our individual or collective salon brands.

What makes these attractive to our industry is these advances allow us to do multiple tasks such as scheduling and stock control, while at the same time tracking client visitation and stylist retention.

Another facet of these advances is collecting data that helps with marketing and promotions and gauge their effectiveness. What makes all this work depends on which system you choose.

And herein lays the crux of the issue….

In creating and developing any brand, technique or policy its success or failure relies on it being a working system. When things are systemized they follow a pattern with a desired and achievable end result. All "built to last" brands are successful because they develop and follow their systems with no room for deviation or personal interpretation.

Good systems produce good end results and bad systems fail. Remember that in the end the system is only as good as the entity that is at the controls.

When good systems are employed there is recognized consistency, which, in a service driven industry is paramount.

Being a music lover I liken systems to sheet music. Whether strict classical or jazz first you have to be able to read the sheet music to understand how to play the music. Then you have to perform in alignment with the flow of the system. You must be in harmony with the other performers to produce a synergy and avoid conflict.

Systems, like performers, need continuous improvement and regular maintenance. Like good jazz, you can improvise but you need to stick to the sheet music score, notes and chords.

With systems there is no room for personal interpretation. Systems are like map directions and if not followed can lead to getting lost. Salons without systems are managed anarchy, without them it's like herding cats.

Once a system is in play, it's always in play, until you create a new or better system.

Systems can be created for perfection, but their users aren't always perfect. Systems like skills, if not regularly upgraded can be outdated and become obsolete.

Systems can be measured and monitored, and need to have back-up systems. Even the best systems can fail from time to time through no fault of their own. Sometimes when there is a failure it may not be a case of bad people; it might be a poor system. Good systems seldom fail, but a business without a good system often does. Systems are created by intelligent design, not default.

Creating, maintaining systems of service delivery and customer service protocols will go far in assuring consistent end product to allow us as professionals maintaining the highest standards our guest expect and most certainly deserve from our salon industry.

Jerry Tyler's column Blue Highways is his "Road Less Traveled" perspective on the solutions and challenges facing the beauty industry. With over 35 years in the salon industry as an industry leader, educator and artist. He is currently "Director of Industry Relations for Carlton Hair and former Board president of the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology.