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Streamlining your business processes

It is vital to the success of your business to constantly look at streamlining your business processes to improve efficiency by either removing any excessive steps, implementing less time-consuming methodologies, or using new technology. This can be a welcomed change for both, employees and customers.

You may not have given business processes much thought, but every single company is built on numerous business processes. These are the repetitive duties that are carried out everyday – anything from product shipping to recruitment and on boarding new employees. How smoothly these processes operate can be the distinction between your organisation merely ticking over and one that is doing exceptionally well. By streamlining your business operations, you’re making sure that they’re running at maximum efficiency, which improves company performance and culture.


Inefficient business processes create dysfunction

At some point in your working life, you may have come across inefficient business processes. You know the ones, that make your job mundane, are repetitive, manual in their nature and they often leave you wondering whether this process could be simplified or automated? These types of processes are likely to cause unhappy customers, stressed employees, missed deadlines and increased costs. Those are just some of the reason why it’s so important to consistently improve business processes so that your company can reach its full potential.


Does your organisation strive for continuous improvement?

Unfortunately, we often see, that company processes are rarely as efficient as they can be. This is because companies don’t always prioritise continuous improvement, and are content with how they operate. The point of streamlining the way your business runs, is that once everyone follows a well-tested methodology, there will be less errors, fewer delays, reduced duplicated effort, plus, staff and customers feel more content.


How to streamline your business processes

To refine and improve your business processes, follow these steps:


1. Map the processes.

Start by writing out the steps within the process in its entirety. This is a vital stage because without knowing the finer details of the process, you are unable to streamline it.

You can map the steps by either jotting them all down on paper, using a dedicated flowchart software or using workflow management software.


2. Analyse the process.

Once you have mapped out the process in full, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are there any steps in the process that are too laborious and time-consuming?
  • Does the process frequently result in missed deadlines or delays?
  • Can you make the outcome of the process more efficient, less time consuming and more productive?
  • Which of these steps create a bottleneck?
  • Do any of the steps create frustration?
  • Are there any steps within the process that don’t contribute to the end goal or product?

Once you have the map and analysis, you have a much better understanding of the process, allowing you to make accurate predictions on what you could improve.


3. Redesigning the process

You can now redesign the way things are done in that process, once you have identified the challenges within it.

We recommend working with the people directly involved in the process because often, they will have some good ideas that may be fruitful. Not only will they help you realise new approaches, but they will be more likely to buy into change if they are involved right from the beginning. It’s important to take note of everyone’s ideas for change, irrespective of the costs involved at this stage. You can later, narrow down your list of options to see whether they are feasible and can be translated into a real-life working context.


4. Obtain resources

You now need to acquire the resources you need to apply the new process. Once you are aware of what resources are required, you will need to approach these people or teams to ensure they understand the new process and how it will benefit your organisation and goals.


5. Execute and communicate change

It’s probable that refining your business process will implicate changing existing systems, teams, or processes. For instance, you may need to purchase new software, hire a new team member, or establish training for colleagues.

Introducing your new process could be a project in itself, so planning and management is vital. It is imperative that time is allocated for dealing with teething problems, and consider a trial run to find challenges early on.

Bear in mind that change is not always easy-going. People can be unwilling to change, particularly when it involves a process that they’ve been using for some time. You could use a change management service provider who can assist with making change easier and more welcoming for the whole organisation.

Every process, irrespective of how often it is done, needs rules or standard that define the scope, quality and methods to follow. If processes are not standardised, it is hard to have visibility over whether improvements can be made. Standardisation can be useful to any process, that is applicable to the company: answering the phone, doing payroll, taking down client information, keeping track of tasks, etc.

When standardisation is done correctly, it can decrease ambiguity or guesswork, improve quality, increase productivity and employee morale.


Business processes are ever-evolving

It goes without saying that you’ll need to streamline and improve the majority of processes at some point. New business goals, new technology, and changes in the business environment can all cause conventional processes to become inefficient or outdated.

Thinking about streamlining your business processes?

Yorkshire Change can help. Get in touch with the team today by emailing chris@yorkshirechange.co.uk

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