Reading Time: 5-7 minutes
Target Audience: Business Decision Makers
Every organisation and business, both big and small, can benefit from optimising their business processes. No matter what industry you work in, we all have repetitive steps and processes that drive the business forward. These vary from small, everyday tasks such as handling incoming inquiries, to large complex processes like hiring staff. Whatever the task, making sure that everything your business does is at its most efficient and effective is important. No matter how menial the task may seem, it all adds up.
Identifying the business process
The first step to optimise your business processes is to identify what they are. Some businesses may already have a fully documented procedure manual, while others may have nothing at all.
To start, identify a process that is regularly done and ask the following questions:
- What is the goal or outcome?
- When does the process start and end?
- What are the individual activities that move the process forward?
- What departments and/or individual employees are involved?
- What information is transferred during this process?
Rethink how you do things
Once you know what tasks are regularly undertaken to keep your business moving, look for places where improvements can be made. At this point every single step and resource should be critically evaluated; nothing is sacred. Here are some questions to start you thinking.
- How much of your resources (paper and staff time) are used in this process?
- How much is used doing work that is redundant or non-essential to the task?
- Are there places where this task always experiences bottle necks?
- Are there common errors in this task?
These questions help you identify where you’re wasting both your business’s time and money. Some examples of issues that may arise are;
- That not all departments need to be copied in on a particular report.
- You have a checking policy in place for something that routinely has no problems anyway.
- You are doing things the ‘old fashioned’ way that could be digitised or automated.
- Meetings are scheduled where the same result could have been achieved with a few simple emails.
Optimise and Automate
Now that you have identified where improvements can be made, you can begin optimising your business processes that need work. This has two stages; stop the waste and repeat what’s working. If you continually perform unnecessary or ineffective tasks, then your business can get bogged down. But, on the flip side many business owners don’t pay enough attention to notice when something is working really well. Business process optimisation should also be about amplifying procedures that are working great so that your business can enjoy even better efficiencies.
If you find a large process that’s bogging you down, fixing it may seem daunting. When that happens, you may like to consider breaking it into smaller tasks and running the same process through again, piece by piece. Another option is to use business process automation (BPA) software tools. BPA can help businesses automate tasks and manage processes without the need for staff intervention, which can reduce errors and speed up processing time.
Learn from the best
Lastly, look how leaders in your field are managing their business. For much of your everyday work it’s likely there are already ‘best practice’ or common techniques in other departments or businesses in your industry. By implementing existing processes, rather than reinventing the wheel, you would avoid a lot of guesswork and get your business on the path to success sooner.
Get help when you need it.
Deciding to optimise your business process is a wise decision, and luckily you don’t have to do it alone. Contact the team at FileStream today and tap into our professional experience and advice.
1300 302 679