For controlling to be effective, you need to take the four steps of this specific function of management. Controlling as a management function involves the following steps:
1. Establishment of standards- Standards are the plans or the targets which have to be achieved in the course of business function. They can also be called the criteria for judging the performance. Standards generally are classified into two-
a) Measurable or tangible- Those standards which can be measured and expressed are called measurable standards. They can be in form of cost, output, expenditure, time, profit, etc.
(b) Non-measurable or intangible- There are standards that cannot be measured monetarily. For example- performance of a manager, deviation of workers, their attitudes towards a concern. These are called intangible standards.
Controlling becomes easy through the establishment of these standards because controlling is exercised on the basis of these standards.
2. Measurement of performance- The second major step in controlling is to measure the performance. Finding out deviations becomes easy through measuring the actual performance. Performance levels are sometimes easy to measure and sometimes difficult. Measurement of tangible standards is easy as it can be expressed in units, cost, money terms, etc. Quantitative measurement becomes difficult when the performance of a manager has to be measured. The performance of a manager cannot be measured in quantities. It can be measured only by-
(a) Attitude of the workers,
(b) Their morale to work,
(c) The development in the attitudes regarding the physical environment, and
(d) Their communication with the superiors.
It is also sometimes done through various reports like weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly reports.
3. Comparison of actual and standard performance- Comparison of actual performance with the planned targets is very important. The deviation can be defined as the gap between actual performance and the planned targets. The manager has to find out two things here- the extent of deviation and cause of deviation. The extent of deviation means that the manager has to find out whether the deviation is positive or negative or whether the actual performance is in conformity with the planned performance. The managers have to exercise control by exception. He has to find out those deviations which are critical and important for the business. Minor deviations have to be ignored. Major deviations like a replacement of machinery, the appointment of workers, quality of raw material, rate of profits, etc. should be looked upon consciously. Therefore it is said, “ If a manager controls everything, he ends up controlling nothing.” For example, if stationery charges increase by a minor 5 to 10%, it can be called a minor deviation. On the other hand, if monthly production decreases continuously, it is called a major deviation. Once the deviation is identified, a manager has to think about the various cause which has led to deviation.
The causes can be-
(a) Erroneous planning,
(b) Co-ordination loosens,
(c) Implementation of plans is defective, and
(d) Supervision and communication are ineffective, etc.
4. Taking remedial actions- Once the causes and extent of deviations are known, the manager has to detect those errors and take remedial measures for them. There are two alternatives here-
(a) Taking corrective measures for deviations that have occurred; and
(b) After taking the corrective measures, if the actual performance is not in conformity with plans, the manager can revise the targets. It is here the controlling process comes to an end. Follow up is an important step because it is only through taking corrective measures, a manager can exercise control.