Why Streamlining Processes Improves Business Efficiency
A business process is a routine within which an individual or management follows to attain business goals. The flow of the processes in a business influences its efficiency.
Most companies use the same approach to achieve their goals over the years. As long as they make profits, they don’t see the need to refine their business processes.
Streamlining processes aims to optimise operational tasks. It involves eliminating unnecessary steps, employing new technology, and implementing alternative methodologies. The intended results of business optimisation are maximum profits, motivated employees, and happy clients.
Keep on reading to learn more!
How to Identify the Areas to Streamline
For the streamlining of a business to be meaningful, you must know all the processes it runs.
You can note them down on paper or use a flowchart software or a workflow management software. Software options track business processes in real-time and allow easy information sharing.
An analysis is vital in identifying invisible flaws. Find out if there are steps in various processes which take more time than necessary. Signs of such weaknesses are delays, overworked employees, and missed deadlines.
Next, assess your cost of running the business. Look for processing steps which look more expensive than what you think is reasonable and note them down.
Steps of Processes Streamlining
The following are the typical steps to follow to achieve processes streamlining in your businesses.
1. Take an Inventory of Business Workflow
First, identify the workflow of your business and your regular processes. Under each process, write down what its intended purpose is, and note the employees responsible for the underlying tasks. Be as thorough as possible without overlooking the simplest of jobs.
2. Rank the Processes by Priority
Most likely, your workflow inventory will surprise you. The number of processes which workers have to follow can be incredibly high. Armed with your list, restructure the operations starting with the most critical.
The job can be confusing given that most processes are interdependent. It may be difficult to decide which ones should come first explicitly. You must do your level-best to develop an ordered list of your business processes.
3. Disintegrate Each Process
Break down every process into distinct steps. A diagram can help you to capture all details better than a list. A spreadsheets program may also be useful.
It is advisable to involve people from various departments to make your report as detailed as possible. You could get stuck while trying to separate multiple dependencies between the tasks within a process. Avoid the situation by focusing more on the beginning, the centre, and the desired outcome of various processes.
4. Get Feedback from Stakeholders
It’s hard to find a business environment where all processes are perfect. Even where the situation looks optimal, things will change since the corporate world is dynamic. Therefore, your business must keep up with the change.
You need to solicit feedback from everyone who takes part in the sequence of your business workflow whether directly or indirectly. Seek the opinions of colleagues, supervisors, and subordinates.
In most cases, the feedback will only contain a few areas that need attention. Implement changes no matter how inconsequential you consider them. The result of a small improvement can influence the performance of your business significantly.
5. Automate Your Business Processes
Most small enterprises rely on spreadsheets for the processing of data. Apart from having errors, most of these programs do not have a straightforward way of sharing data. You have to circulate it to co-workers via email for updates, which can be tedious.
If you are using such a system, look for business workflow software, also known as business process management software.
BPM programs have different features and functions. Primarily, they collect data, automate the workflow, and produce reports and charts. Find a program designed for processes streamlining.
6. Keep Upgrading
Streamlining of business processes is continuous. You have to keep refining. Even after implementing new methodologies, other changes will come, and your business will need to adjust to survive.
Benefits of Streamlining Processes
The aim of business managers is to get the most out of the invested capital for their businesses thrive. Streamlining processes can help you to achieve your goals in the following ways.
Better Time Management
Businesses need to spend the time they have frugally. By streamlining repetitive tasks, workers don’t have to wait for each other to perform interdependent processes. Instead of sending queries to various departments, employees get automated notifications when they need to execute a task.
Businesses also have to complete many repetitive tasks every day, like filling and submitting forms. The job can be tedious and time-consuming. Streamlining can resolve to the automation of such duties.
The result is fewer errors, uniformity in processing, and quick results. Moreover, employees can concentrate on critical areas of the business growth.
Enhanced Tracking of Processes
Without processes streamlining, workflows can be hard to track. It’s hard to tell if an employee has acted on a file after sending it to them. You may have to reach out to them to confirm.
Digitised marketing workflows are transparent. Once you initiate a request, you can track its progress at any time. The manager overseeing the workflow can collect useful data such as the number of requests made, what got approved, and the associated expenses.
Streamlining reduces the need to print hard copies. An automated system can generate reports which You can share electronically. A good business process management software saves you money by eliminating paper.
The software also shrinks your workforce requirements through automatic data entry and processing. Furthermore, digitally processed documents are usually more accurate than manually filled papers.
Better Documentation and Storage
Electronic files are easier to store and retrieve than printed copies. You can save them in the cloud and pull them remotely at any time.
Digital systems also enhance the integrity and authenticity of data. You can tell who produced which report and when. Employees have to take responsibility for any documents which pass through their hands.
A management system which interconnects employees and departments makes communication between entities smooth. Employees don’t have to move around to pass a message.
Managers can issue instructions to the workers or receive documents which need their review real quick. Streamlined communication saves everybody time and enables businesses to accomplish their goals faster.
Identification of Bottlenecks
A business can operate for many years with unwarranted limitations. Often, employees or departments play blame games when things go haywire.
Streamlining processes in your business helps you to identify the particular areas which haven’t been performing. You can then put the people responsible for drawbacks into account or empower them to become more productive. You can also pinpoint unnecessary processes or tasks and do away with them.
One limitation of old-fashioned business processing models is that stakeholders must follow a set of stringent processes without room for customisation. The problem is that projects have varying requirements while clients can have different needs.
Streamlining in a business overcomes this challenge. The processes are flexible, and you can change them to suit various circumstances.
Non-Replication of Roles
In a business which has not streamlined its processes, there is the likelihood of workers playing overlapping roles. This situation can lead to similar processes producing different outcomes, and doubling up on work load.
A central system provides specific channels of information flow for all users.
Risks which businesses face include lethargy by employees, fraud, missing deadlines, poor quality of work, and failure to meet standards. Businesses with streamlined processes have high transparency. This enables managers to capture and control these vices. Managers can monitor the progress of various departments from one location.
Without a management system, you might forget to fulfil some of your obligations as a business owner. Software that guides the employees on the standards to follow, helps the business to deliver on time but also comply with various regulations.
Streamlining processes also helps you to work within your industry guidelines.
Easy Cost-Benefit Analysis
Managers have to update their way of doing business as the nature of the operational environment changes. Adapting to change comes at a cost, and business owners have to be sure of returns.
A reliable BPM software can help you to measure the outcomes of improving internal processes. You can monitor the effects in real time. The reports generated can help you to decide whether supporting certain operations is worthwhile.
Achieving 100% efficiency in your business workflow is difficult. However, streamlining processes can create a near-perfect environment in your business. Modern business process management solutions can enable you to improve your workflow with a few tweaks.
Once you implement new processes, you should train your workers on how to use the new system. Let them understand that the changes are there to benefit everyone. Track the performance of the new processes and improve them whenever necessary.
Streamlining processes in a business is an endless process. You have to monitor your workflow continuously to identify new challenges and keep refining. This is particularly important in your online marketing strategy if you want to grow traffic and improve conversions.
Do you have any question about streamlining your online business processes or marketing team’s productivity? Be sure to reach out to our team.
Strategic Optimisation + Growth consultant for lean start-ups and change-making entrepreneurs enabling them to grow their business in a sustainable and profitable way. My super-powers are business optimisation, CX, SEO, and leveraging data insights for business growth. #fuelledbycoffee
Originally published at optimiseandgrowonline.com.au on September 23, 2018.