Every business uses dozens of processes every day, for example when you go through the same steps each time you generate a report, resolve a customer complaint, or contact a new client. So inefficient processes can cost your business dearly – causing unhappy customers, stressed colleagues, missed deadlines, and increased costs. That’s why it’s so important to improve processes when they are not working well. Here are some tips to help you streamline the processes in your business.
Identify Your Processes
You may not have evaluated the processes in your business before, so take stock and identify them. Processes can be formal or informal; such as the formal process of receiving and submitting invoices, or the informal process of noting meeting actions that you’ve created within the business. Formal processes are largely to do with legal or financial concerns and usually have designated steps that have been set from outside your business. Although informal processes are usually executed with steps you’ve created within your business, they’re just as important to the overall efficiency of the business – so don’t overlook them.
Evaluate and Improve
Once you’ve identified your various processes you need to evaluate which are working well and which aren’t. Usually upon investigation this will be fairly clear, but if not it might be worth getting a fresh perspective from a consultancy like Evolve. They offer a process improvement service that can help you make sure your processes are as efficient as possible. Once you’ve identified which processes need improvement, you need to figure out exactly where the improvement needs to be. So consider questions like: where are my colleagues getting frustrated? Where do costs or quality go up or down? Do any of the steps of this process cause delays?
By asking questions like these you can be sure that you’re addressing the root cause of the problem, rather than just fixing the symptoms. Speak to the people who are affected by the process. What do they think is wrong with it? And what suggestions do they have for improving it? By doing this you can create an effective strategy to streamline your processes for the long term, and those involved in executing the processes will feel involved at an early stage, rather than just being told they need to make certain changes later on.
Once the changes have been made to the process, you need to scrutinize it again to make sure those changes are effective. It may take a few tries to find the right solution to the problem, but with so much at stake it’s certainly worth it.