Every business aims to be efficient and keep costs to minimum. Often over time business processes can become outdated and inefficient. So how can businesses stop wasting time and money?
Review your processes
Look at your current processes. Look at all the steps in turn and evaluate their necessity. What is its purpose and how is it working now? Are there any unnecessary steps? Where are the bottlenecks? Ask your employees and utilise their knowledge. They use the processes every day so should be able to tell you where the frustration is.
Implement new processes, taking advantage of new technology
Once you have reviewed your processes investigate how new technology could help you streamline. Many standard tasks could benefit from an automated solution that can be bought “out of the box” from suppliers. Any new processes must be easy to understand and use for any employees. Complicated processes will not improve business effectiveness.
Integrate your systems
Do you have various systems that are not able to communicate with each other? This can lead to people having to copy and paste or re key data in multiple places. This duplication can lead to quality issues. Don’t make do with systems that are no longer fit for purpose. If you have a single system of workflow and record this will streamline performance and keep everyone, and everything connected.
Update legacy systems and equipment
Even if you have spent a lot of money on a system in the past does not necessarily mean you should keep supporting it. This money could be better spent on investing in a new system that gets your company ready for the future. This is also the case for old PC’s and laptops. If your equipment is slow it can lead to frustration and delays.
Don’t under or over communicate!
For processes to work efficiently people need to talk to each other. Processes should be standardised across departments with no “gatekeepers”, employees who are the only people in control of a specific part of a process. On the other hand, there should not be an over communication, with people CC’d into every email!! Too much communication can mean people miss what they really need to know. Also think about how much time is spent in meetings and whether this time is used wisely. Make sure meetings have a clear agenda and utilise video conferencing to eliminate time spent travelling.
Outsourcing can help take certain processes out of your hands. Maybe this could be a bookkeeper for invoicing, for example.
Collect and review data
Make sure you collect information on how your processes are working. Find out how long it is taking to complete tasks and use this information to improve efficiency.