Businesses are constantly looking for ways to get work done better, faster, and more efficiently. Because time is money, it’s important that businesses periodically evaluate their current workflow and business processes.
Business processes are the set of interrelated tasks linked to a job function that span departmental boundaries. They are a series of individual tasks performed in a specific order that have a starting point and ending point, and are repeatable. For example, when a vendor sells to a customer, there are usually several processes that take place, including offering available inventory, sending a price quote, receiving a purchase request, processing payment, and acknowledging the sale with a receipt.
The business process outlined above is a simplified example of a single process many businesses perform every day, yet it involves people from several departments, including sales, accounting, and shipping. The problem is that business owners rarely evaluate the effectiveness of a particular business process by asking whether this process could be simplified or automated. Or, when they do decide to make process changes, they are often executed without a clear vision or effective leadership.
In order to maximise efficiency and improve workflow throughout your organisation, avoid these common pitfalls when updating your business processes:
Losing sight of the BIG Picture. Before you tackle individual business processes, you must have a clear understanding of your company’s long-term vision. Something that might seem important in the short term could become obsolete in a few years. Envisioning the future of your business processes and workflow will help you make better decisions right now.
Trying to solve all your problems at once. Improving business processes often means automating certain tasks or functions to increase efficiency and free up your employees’ time for other critical tasks. However, it’s important to remember that not every business process can or should be automated. Don’t try to change everything at once. Instead, tackle each business process individually, test out a new approach, evaluate it, and then move on to the next thing.
Proceeding without input from the team. Many companies fail at restructuring their business processes because they don’t take time to really understand how business processes are currently executed within their organisation. It’s essential to get feedback from a team that includes executives, IT managers, and representatives from every department. In order to understand what needs to be done differently, it’s essential for the team to come to agreement on an effective solution.