This article throws light upon the top eleven features of effective control system. The features are: 1. Future-Oriented 2. Multiple Control System 3. Economical 4. Timeliness 5. Flexible 6. Control of Critical Points 7. Operational 8. Organisational Climate 9. Objective Standards 10. Control by Exception 11. Positive Environment.
Feature # 1. Future-Oriented:
The control system ensures that mistakes made in the past are not repeated in future. It is a process that focuses on future plans. It helps in redesigning the plans by providing data upon which they should be based.
Feature # 2. Multiple Control System:
Control system does not aim to control only one activity. The effective control systems simultaneously control production, inventory, sales, cost and quality. Not only do they aim at different areas of operations, they also aim at finding deviations of the inputs (feed-forward), work-in-progress (concurrent) and outputs (feedback).
Feature # 3. Economical:
It is costly to institute a control system. Therefore, costs of the control system should be less than its benefits. This is possible by applying corrective measures only on significant deviations (management by exception). Control by exception at critical points optimizes the use of resources on areas which best reflect organisational efficiency. Costs vary according to size of the organisation and nature of activities to be controlled.
A large- sized organisation can afford a complex control system with costly and sophisticated techniques of control, essential to its work. High precision activities like pharmaceuticals, engineering, defense etc. cannot afford even small margin of errors and, therefore, need a highly efficient control system. However, it should be ensured that the system helps in preventing mistakes, which if happen, may involve costs much more than the cost of installing the control system.
Feature # 4. Timeliness:
Deviations should be reported as frequently as possible to the management so that timely remedial action can be taken. Late actions may be as good as no actions. Fast collection and appraisal of information on deviations can make the control system prompt.
Feature # 5. Flexible:
Business operates in the turbulent and dynamic environment. Control systems should be flexible to adjust business operations to environmental changes. Impact of changes on planned performance (or standards) should be incorporated from time to time. There should be alternative plans to meet unexpected situations.
Feature # 6. Control of Critical Points:
Rather than controlling every activity, control system should focus on critical points only where deviations affect the organisational goals. Poor performance in these areas requires corrective action. Critical points determine areas where actions should be monitored. “Effective control requires attention to those factors critical to evaluating performance against plans.”
Rather than controlling activities related to the entire plan, it should aim at controlling activities where deviations can seriously damage organisational performance. Focus on factors critical to planned performance can increase the efficiency of control system. Resources will be focused exactly where they are required. This also promotes timeliness and economy of the control system.
Feature # 7. Operational:
The control system should not only find deviations but also correct them. Managers can artificially create a deviation and see how effectively the control system works in such conditions. A pilot run on the simulated conditions increases the efficiency of the control system. It promotes feed forward controls as corrective actions on expected deviations can be tested in anticipation of deviations.
Feature # 8. Organisational Climate:
In organisations where employees have restricted freedom (autocratic style of management), a tight control system will be successful and organisations where participative or democratic style of management prevails, a lenient control system should be adopted. Control system should suit the needs of the organisation.
It should also be simple to understand to enhance its approachability. Complicated mathematical models and software’s can make the system complex. Though training enhances understanding of these models, ability to understand them should match their application to the business operations. Highly complex models may change the focus from application to their understanding.
Feature # 9. Objective Standards:
A control system will be effective if standards of performance are objective. Standards should be specific, quantifiable and attainable. Poor or non-measurable standards will violate the purpose of control system as it may be based on personal biases. It may result in short-term gains at the cost of long-term profits.
Feature # 10. Control by Exception:
Managers should control only exceptional deviations as they have serious impact on organisational efficiency. Some deviations can be ignored while others cannot. It should aim at deviations which affect organisational performance and allow minor deviations to correct on their own.
Feature # 11. Positive Environment:
Control system should not be viewed as a negative force that restricts innovativeness and creativity. It should create positive organisational climate which allows freedom of actions rather than punishing undesirable actions.
The focus should be on work (ends) and not workers (means.). The system should be motivating for people to adopt to reduce resistance to control, It should promote and not restrict their autonomy to work. The system should fit into needs of the people rather than people fitting into the needs of the system. Changes should be brought in men and system to meet the needs of the organisation.