Processes are a part of everyday business that are often taken for granted. These have often operated the same way for a long time and unless issues such as unhappy customers, increased costs or missed deadlines come to the attention of those that manage the processes, they are likely to stay the same, and this is not the most efficient way to work. The better your processes, the happier your staff, customers and bottom line! Here are five ways you can improve processes within your business.
Map your process
Before you look at changing your processes, it is important that you fully understand them. Use a flowchart to document each step visually and consult with those who regularly engage with the process to ensure that you have covered it fully. It is then that you can start to analyze the process. Look at where bottlenecks are created, and pinpoint areas that your team members, or customers become frustrated. Highlight areas where costs increase and/or the quality decreases. Again, it is useful to consult with those that are regularly involved in these processes as they will know what it is like day-to-day.
Redesign the process
Focusing on the issues that were uncovered while mapping the process, you are able to redesign the process, working to eliminate these problems. Working with the people who will be directly affected by these changes will help create a sense of ownership and be more likely to foster an environment where the team are open to change. It is important to ensure at this stage that any changes are in direct response to issues found, and not just a case of change being made for the sake of change.
Get commitment and support
It is important to have buy-in from your team, and senior management to ensure that these improvements are implemented. You are likely going to need to present the issues discovered and clearly illustrate how the changes to processes are going to save money/time/create happier clients and/or employees. These recommendations need full support from upper-management, especially if any of the changes are time or resource intensive.
There are so many different tools and applications that have been built to simply help you work more efficiently and automate many of your processes. If you can use these, you should. For example, software like the Sage & Smart Pension One-Click Payroll & Pension Integration offers automated processes around pensions and payroll, reducing the possibility of user error and the vast expense of time that these processes use. Shop around to find the best tools to help streamline your processes.
Assess and review
Once these changes have been implemented, it is vital to continually assess and review their effectiveness. It is unlikely that they will work perfectly as soon as they are rolled out, however by monitoring them closely you will be able to iron out issues as they appear. Communicate with those that are part of the processes to see how they are finding it and if there are any frustrations from their end and make any required tweaks.
By regularly reviewing, and improving your processes, whether manually or with apps and services, you will ensure that your business is constantly evolving and growing. Change is good, especially if it gives you more time, money or happiness.
What ways have you improved processes within your business?