The business world has realized that it wastes a lot. Whether it’s time, energy, power, or any number of other metrics, businesses have become wasteful because they adopt a result-oriented approach. The twenty-first century has no place for such a mindset, and companies will have to change and adapt. BP Trends mentions that businesses could improve their bottom line by raising their process efficiency. Wasteful processes can lead to a company missing out on a much bigger score while they’re busy stuck in an old mindset. But how does a business approach the problem of wasteful processes?
A Change In Outlook
Process improvement is the best way for a business to refresh the way it sees the industry. CIO notes that process improvement includes identifying the business’s processes and improving their process efficiency and output based on available data. Yet changing the techniques aren’t the only remedy. By itself, attempting to change the processes without adapting the mindset behind it will lead to pushback from different hierarchy levels. If a business wants to be effective, it needs to start by seeing where improvements can be made, both in the physical processes and the mindsets behind those departments.
Leave The Old Behind
There’s nothing wrong with established technology and methodology. If you wanted to form anonymous companies, you’d do it the same way today as it has been done for the last twenty years or so. Established processes have their place. However, if a business intends to be less wasteful with their time and money, they need to critically examine these processes through a harsh lens of process efficiency. Human beings are afraid of change on a fundamental level. It leaves them feeling strange and out of place in a previously familiar environment. The same goes for the tools they use.
Basic processing suites such as Microsoft Office have been in use since the 90s. Technology has improved since then, even for the best dentist, and so too has the usability of these suites. Yet, today modern technology has developed tools specifically geared towards doing what people had done in those barebones software suites. Today, if one wanted to do accounting, one benefited from Peachtree and several scores of other specialized tools that didn’t require an in-depth knowledge of Visual Basic needed to get the same job done on Microsoft Excel. What’s more, these new tools are far more efficient at getting the job done with less room for errors in entry and processing.
Automation is another area that businesses should be looking at tapping into to improve their efficiency. With such an interconnected world, with technology at our fingertips, a business person should utilize what they have available. Seamless synchronization between Google Calendar and a work email system can ensure that alerts show up on time to particular departments. Artificial intelligence makes it easier to set up world-class customer service using chatbots. From proposals to contracts, tools exist that can speed up the processes and ensure that the business remains efficient in both time and money usage. You should take a critical look at the tools your company currently uses and examine whether they could be improved by other utilities presently available.
Require Your Partners’ Transparency
Business isn’t a one-way street. You will always have to deal with multiple other partners, suppliers, and consumers. However, this increases the complexity of your problems. Sometimes your supply issues might be due to an external business and not even your own company’s fault. Because of this, you should ask your business partners to be totally transparent about their own process efficiency. They don’t have any obligation to do so, but you also have the option of choosing someone else to supply you. You should demand this transparency from suppliers because it may impact how your business performs over the long term.
There may be significant costs associated with waste. Even if your business isn’t one that requires massive accuracy in its logistics, each missed delivery date will cost the business, either through the loss of future custom or the damage to the company’s reputation with that particular buyer. Supply chains are volatile things, and it may be hard for a business to spot problems internally, much less when it happens within their suppliers’ portion of the chain. Logistics need accurate information to help companies to make a choice or alert consumers to the potential of delayed delivery.
Data can be your friend in this instance. There are many insights locked inside of data. By asking for transparency from your suppliers further up the logistics train, you can utilize this data to improve your own processes. Validation of results forms a core part of whether a company can be trusted to keep supplying you. If your supplier can’t (or won’t) validate their shipping details to you, you should be concerned. This lack of transparency shows a system that is rife with inefficiency or corruption—neither of those bodes well for your business partnering with theirs.
Spend Less Time In Meetings
Comic strips love to poke fun at businesses because of the amount of time they spend in meetings. Yet this chiding isn’t all misplaced. Harvard Business Review mentions that many executives saw sessions as a waste of time, with 71% of them stating that meetings were completely unproductive. Meetings remain one of the bottlenecks in business efficiency. Yet, they are a necessary part of a business’s planning and execution. Dispensing with meetings leaves the business in a precarious situation where information isn’t being freely shared across all stakeholders.
Meetings range from casual meetups to dinner and shop talk, all geared towards improving the business’s handling of clients. Yet therein lies the problem. As necessary as meetings are, they are a black hole to the business’s time and money. No new clients come from meetings, and no payments are made. The employees involved in them are usually listless and bored since most of the information presented doesn’t directly affect them. This fact raises an important question – why should a business even hold meetings in the first place?
Recent events have shifted the focus of meetings into the online sphere. Businesses are cutting down on the time they spend in meetings, and many are just opting to send a newsletter outlining the pertinent information to relevant parties. Meetings may still need to occur, but they can be rigorously pared down to only the most necessary individuals and ingredients. It doesn’t do to have someone present within a meeting that doesn’t need to be there. A business must know how valuable its clients’ and employees’ time is and schedule meetings to stop strictly after specific topics are covered. Indulging meetings is a wasteful practice that could harm process efficiency and significantly impact the business’s earnings.
Build a More Efficient Work Flow
Most businesses don’t even realize they have a problem with being wasteful. Many write it off as just “the cost of doing business.” This misconception could have dire consequences for a company. Today’s world sees wasted time and energy as a capital sin. With professionals realizing they can’t get everything done they want to in one day, these inefficient processes can cast the business in a poor light. Developing more efficient business practices should be a top priority for companies. Investing in better technology, reducing wasted time in meetings, and asking for more transparency in supplier interactions is the start of changing the company’s mindset on process efficiency. If the business intends to remain operational and competitive in the future, it needs to develop more efficient work practices.