Behind every successful business lies a good business process. You might ask, why streamline the business processes when it’s still functional? Everything seems to be working just fine. Think of business processes as a playbook that guides employees (and even you) on how an organisation operates. A study conducted by Mitel revealed that organisations can save more than $10,000 a year per employee with more efficient processes. On average 13% of an employee’s day is wasted due to inefficiencies. As the economy changes, we have to keep up and do away with processes that no longer work. Or risk getting left behind. So don’t just make do with the current processes, devise more efficient processes to save time and costs!
Assess Your Processes
Want to streamline your business processes but don’t know where to begin? Map it out using swim lanes! Write down the benefits and drawbacks of each step and be as detailed as you can. The more details you have, the easier it is to identify the bottlenecks, pain points and redundant tasks. If you are looking to streamline the processes for your team, find out the actual issues that your team is facing on the ground. It’s easy to lose sight of the nitty gritty details when you are not experiencing the issues on a daily basis.
Visualise Your Ideal
Once you have mapped out your processes and found out the root cause of the issue, imagine your ideal process. Brainstorm ideas with the colleagues involved in this process. Chances are, they already have an arsenal of ideas at the back of their minds. Be creative and go beyond the budget and technical constraints (it’s an ideal for a reason). After the brainstorming session, select a few ideas that can potentially be incorporated into your processes and start redesigning your process. Remember, there will be trade-offs in every process (think cost, quality, service and speed), so decide which one you are willing to prioritise. If you are looking for quality, be prepared for higher costs and vice versa.
Automate If Possible
Tired of the manual processes? Sick of the back and forth emails for approvals? Try automating them instead! Use Microsoft forms and Power Automate to simplify approval processes by just clicking a few buttons. Invest in a database system that can help you collect and store data for easy reference. Leave these low value-added and manual tasks for the machine. Focus on high value added work instead!
Communicate The Change
Change is the only constant, yet we humans are so resistant to change. Why rock the boat when things are going smoothly? Why change when we have gotten so used to the status quo? It’s normal to face resistance when implementing change. So share the benefits of changing your business processes with your team or colleagues involved. Give them a reason to embrace this change and work with you on improving the processes.
Congrats! You have just completed a business process improvement project! But wait, don’t just conclude the project once you have streamlined the process. Monitor the new processes regularly for any unforeseen issues and drawbacks. Give your colleagues time to adapt to this change and check in with them from time to time. Adjust your processes according to their feedback to remain relevant.
Streamlining your business process takes time and a whole lot of perseverance. You will definitely face resistance and budget constraints, but your process doesn’t have to be the ideal at phase 1. Power through and take the time to implement gradual change.