Farm management: Implement your plans properly


By Digital team | 5 December 2018
agriculture; agribusiness; agricultural; reform; implement
Photo: Landbouweekblad

Once plans have been finalised, make sure you implement them effectively.

Implementing planned tasks aids your business objectives. Thus, it would be foolish to plan carefully and then neglect the implementation.

Implementation is specifically carried out by the human resources (the employees) of the business, who should thus be activated to do the work efficiently.

For implementation to be truly successful, it is required of a manager to be committed to his other management activities namely leadership, communicating, motivating, delegating, coordinating, making decisions and maintaining discipline.

PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS

Strong internal leadership from management is required to successfully drive the process of implementation, and better methods of executing plans must be sought continuously. Managers must take the lead in the implementation process, not by doing everything themselves but by activating their employees.

To activate employees, they need to be motivated, and motivation is a management role. During the implementation process the necessary guidance needs to be provided by management as it helps to activate people.

Clear communication is of the utmost importance if the implementation of plans is to be successfully handled. Instructions must be clear and precise. Everybody involved with a specific implementation process must know who should do what, when and at what standard, and in which direction they are headed.

Delegation is important during implementation. The manager cannot do everything himself. The extent of delegation will mostly be determined by the size of the business and/or the specific task. It will also depend on whether management wants to be more actively involved in the process of implementation, or whether they will be on the sideline acting in an advisory management capacity.

It is important to pay attention to proper coordination between sections. The gears of the business must run smoothly if the implementation is to be successful. Should co-ordination be hampered it will waste time and, therefore, money.

Remember: Income – expenditure = profit or loss

For example, should dosing remedies for your calves not be available on the Monday morning when they are supposed to be administered, implementation of the task will obviously be delayed.

In practice, management is quite often required to make decisions urgently in order to keep the implementation running smoothly. Should a tractor present with a flat tyre during harvesting, how will the challenge be addressed?

Maintaining employee discipline at all times is of the utmost importance to ensure proper implementation. Is work being done below the acceptable standard? If ill discipline is not addressed in a proper manner it can seriously jeopardise the implementation of actions.

HOW TO PRIORITISE

In practice, there will always be more than one task to attend to. Remember that unforeseen actions may occur too – such as a veld fire, or your prize bull becoming stuck in the mud in a vlei.

From experience we know that not all actions or tasks can receive attention at the same time. A decision must be made as to which actions or tasks need attention most urgently. Tasks that impact income and/or expenditure, or those tasks that affect your employees, should be regarded as important.

Tasks can be classified as follows:

  • High importance/high urgency
  • High importance/low urgency
  • Low importance/high urgency
  • Low importance/low urgency

Tasks that are high in importance as well as urgency are those tasks that have an impact on your income – if they are performed immediately they will likely increase your income and if they are not handled immediately they may well jeopardise your income. Or it could be work that has an impact on expenditure – if not done immediately it will increase expenditure, and limited time is available to deal with the specific task.

Urgency relates to the time you have available to get a specific task done – it must either be done today, or it can be done later. If a mechanical failure is experienced while you are harvesting a crop, repairing the machinery will be treated as a task of high importance/high urgency – thus it is high priority. The same would be true if one of your cows experienced difficulty calving, especially if it is one of your stud cows.

On the other hand, filing to be done in the office would be treated as a task of low importance/low urgency, or low priority, because it could be done at any time.

It is important to be thorough regarding the implementation of all plans to the required standards in order to achieve all of your business objectives.

Also read: Half a plan is better than no plan

  • This article was written by Marius Greyling and first appeared in Farming SA.