Every company develops its own business processes and relies on these to run a productive and cost-effective operation. If your business is small, it’s possible that these processes have been improvised as you’ve gone along, and that they aren’t as effective and efficient as they could be. As the business grows, it could be beneficial to review these processes in order to enhance performance.
To identify your own business processes, think about every task that you must carry out on a regular basis. This could be something as simple as creating timesheets, or a more complex operation such as coming up with marketing strategies. Business processes are designed to accomplish a certain business goal and may be carried out by one person, or a whole team.
- Map the process
The first step to streamlining a business process is to understand exactly what steps it consists of, which is where process mapping comes in. Make a note of each separate task involved in the process, including each step from beginning to end. The simplest way to do this is to jot it down on paper, but if you want a digital copy of your work, you might choose to create a visual representation with a flowchart. If the process includes meetings and appointments, you can take advantage of Microsoft’s SharePoint calendar (read more on https://kwizcom.com/blog/sharepoint-calendars/) or any similar tool that can aid the team in reminding crucial dates and deadlines. When process mapping, be sure not to miss out on any sub-steps. You may find it helpful to discuss the business process with colleagues so you don’t overlook anything important.
- Analyse the process
The next step is to analyse the process in question, looking at each step in further detail to discover any problems. Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering each process:
- Is this process cost-effective? Could a certain step within the process be driving up costs?
- Where are team members or customers becoming frustrated with this process?
- Is this process too time consuming? Are any steps taking up an unreasonable amount of time, or causing delays?
- Could key steps within this process be made faster or more efficient?
To help with your analysis, you could also use the 5 Whys strategy or Root Cause Analysis to discover the root of the problem. Again, speak to colleagues who are involved with or affected by the process to find out if they have any suggestions for improvement.
- Streamline the process
After analysing the process and determining the root cause of any issues, the next step is to come up with a solution in order to streamline the process. Consider whether you can entirely remove any steps from the process, as it may be that certain steps don’t contribute to the end goal. You could also think about whether new technology could help, considering what tools are available that could change the way the process works for the better. For example, software developers make use of Mulesoft’s API driver integration tools to send the system’s response back to a user. Such solutions can be implemented by hiring mulesoft development services that can help you accelerate business growth and increase operational efficiency with integrated solutions. Besides integration platforms, new techniques such as implementing a digital business technology platform, which my review here talks more about, could work to your business’s advantage by integrating several business tools and enabling a smarter flow of work. Look at the whole team’s suggestions, then work to narrow down possible solutions by considering practicality and cost.
- Implement the process
So, you’ve come up with a solution, but will the new and improved process work as well as you’re hoping in reality? Once you’ve conducted an Impact Analysis, Risk Analysis and Failure Mode and Effects Analysis, you can get to work on testing the process.
It’s a good idea to perform tests on a smaller scale to see how efficient the redesigned process is within the business, making sure to monitor for any unexpected problems as you go. Once you and your team have agreed that the process works, create new diagrams to fully document each step.
- Enforce the process
Now you’ll need to enforce the process, which means encouraging employees to get on board with the new strategy. Make sure that all employees have undergone appropriate training and can carry out the new process as intended to ensure it runs smoothly and improves efficiency.