Business processes are critical to the ability of a company to successfully execute its objectives. A great strategy, the right employees, and other accompanying structures are necessary to run a successful business. However it is having the right processes and systems in place that guarantees a business’ ability to consistently offer value to its customers and remain sustainable in the long run.
What Are Business Processes?
A business process is a collection of related tasks, which work together to deliver an output (either a product or a service) to a customer. When business processes don’t work, a business runs into several problems. You most likely use dozens of business processes every day as you run your business. For example, you may go through the same steps each time you take a new customer order, bake a cake, write a report or reach out to a prospective customer.
I am sure you have come across inefficient business processes. For instance when yu buy your favorite sandwich and it tastes a little different from normal or the service at your local restaurant changes each time you visit or when a sales person cannot resolve your complaint adequately.
That’s why it’s so important to understand the key processes in your business and strive to them when they are not working well. In this article, we’ll look at howyou can do this.
Why it is Important to Improve Business Processes?
Improving your business processes is a great way to increase the value of your brand since systems and processes reflect your internal culture. As your business grows, it is likely that some of the processes you used in the beginning will become obsolete and no longer efficient. For instance a bakery owner who started by taking orders manually into a book. As the business grows, she will be better off automating the process by using software so that not only does she remember the exact details of the order, she can also add other features like pictures to help her remember more quickly.
Improved business processes make daily workflow more productive, efficient and effective. It also prevents waste and ensures accountability amongst employees. Your business processes directly affect the quality of service you provide to your customers and will also lead to happy or frustrated employees.
How Can You Improve Your Processes?
- Identify what needs to change: Using a toothcomb approach, review your business from all angles (internal and external) and determine what needs to change and when you would want the changes to kick off. This process of reviewing your business will also help you to know what areas to prioritize.
- Analyze the current processes: Using a flowchart highlight step by step how each procedure is carried out in achieving a task. This will give you a visual model of how you are achieving your current tasks. The flowchart also helps in highlighting what steps should be added, sub steps you previously didn’t think of and redundant steps that should be taken out of the entire process.
- Check for inefficiencies: Now that you have visually laid out the process, the next step is to check for steps that bring about delays, bottlenecks and complaints. Identify them and find out the reason behind the challenges.
- Redesigning process: Once you are done identifying the inefficiencies the next step is to redesign the process. We recommend that redesigning the process should be a collaborative effort. Speak to the staff that actually perform those tasks and together brainstorm new and faster ways of performing the tasks. It is important to get the staff involved, as they are the ones who do the work and will execute your new processes.
- Implement new processes: Implementing the new processes entails documentation and communication. Write the new processes in a manual and communicate to the entire staff preferably through training. It is not advisable to implement all the new changes at once. A phased approach is best to ensure that staff are actually adopting it and not just glossing it over. You can create a timeline for implementation, which should contain expected change and compliance date. Share this with the staff so they can hold themselves
- Review new process:Using the implementation timeline, check to see if the newly designed processes have been implemented and what the outcome is on the overall output (product or service).
In order for your business to remain successful and competitive, you t must constantly improve business process management.