Improve Business Process Efficiency

January 9, 2023

Overthe past few years, there has been an explosion of interest in improving business process efficiency. This is very well-documented through various books, blogs, and podcasts that discuss different strategies and tools to help you improve your own business processes.

Many of these concepts can be applied at any level of an organization – from optimizing individual tasks to reengineering entire systems or even changing how an organization structures itself.

There are many ways to use this knowledge for improvement. You could look into streamlining one specific task or activity, creating modularized workflows, making best use of resources and equipment, and automating repetitive tasks. Or you could focus more broadly on adopting systematic approaches to managing the flow of activities within an organizational unit or department.

The important thing to remember about all of these ideas is that they should make things run more efficiently, not just superficially, but fundamentally — changes must remove overhead so that no additional effort is needed to perform a given function. Only then will real efficiency gains be seen.

Be consistent

improve business process efficiency

Consistency is one of the most important things to be in a business, and that goes beyond just having similar decorations for weekdays and weekends. What you do every day matters!

In your job, what you do each day really does matter. If you consistently put quality content onto social media, then people will trust you more as an expert. If you are always on time for meetings, others will rely on you to keep commitments.

With work, timing can be an issue. You may need to plan ahead or be able to accommodate other parts of your life which don’t match up with the schedule.

If someone has to wait for you, they may get annoyed or even go somewhere else. Or, they might show up late themselves, reducing productivity and creating a negative vibe.

You must understand how much this impacts your colleagues and peers. When someone is waiting for you, make sure it isn’t because you aren’t willing to be there when you said you would be.

Don’t let them feel like they have to make allowances for you. This applies not only at work, but also outside of work – know when to be available and stick to it.

Measure results

A few years ago, I read an article about how to improve your business process efficiency. The writer mentioned that one of the important things you can do is measure the outcomes of your processes.

She gave the example of going into the office every day without pay as part of her company’s layoff procedures. Not only did she want to see if employees were willing to go through with it, but she also wanted to know what kind of morale they needed at the time. Was there discontent in the workplace? Were people unhappy with their bosses?

By measuring these things, she was able to determine whether or not her company had just lost valuable resources and whether anyone would be rehired when everyone else was.

It’s very similar to what companies do now during layoffs. They look for evidence of fraud or theft, and whether someone needs more training before being let back in the workforce. By gathering this information, they are ensuring that no one gets stuck paying them severance benefits while no one actually does.

This way, everyone knows what to expect and has prepared for it. It helps prevent any resentment or feelings of betrayal.

Take action

improve business process efficiency

Systems are built to make repeating tasks easier, but only if you use them consistently! This is why it’s so important to establish good processes that ensure consistency in how things are done.

If your business does not have clear process definitions, then staff will be free to do whatever they want with no guidance or standards.

This can result in poor quality or even bad practices being normalised. These poor habits may even become harder to break as people get used to doing them.

As professionals who work for your company, we should all know what our jobs entail and what is expected of us. If someone else is performing their job poorly, they should be given feedback and help to fix the problem.

Your colleagues will look up to you and expect you to set an example. When there is no clear standard operating procedure (SOP), they will probably continue to play by ear and learn from past experiences instead of using formal methods.

Review process

improve business process efficiency

A large part of business comes down to how well you manage your processes and procedures. It’s important to remember that no matter what job you have, everyone has a similar task within their role.

So if you are in sales, you will mostly be talking with people about products and services. If you are marketing, you’ll be telling them about different brands and strategies they can use to market theirs.

If you are Finance, you’ll be explaining the best ways to spend money to help them grow the company. And so on and so forth!

In all these cases, someone already does it for a living and has designed efficient processes and protocols to succeed at it.

By learning how they do it, you could improve yours or create new ones that are more effective. This would not only make you more successful, but also reduce wasted time and energy on things that don’t work.

There is a way to do everything, and there are always better ways to get the same result. By experimenting with other methods, you’d know whether they're worth using or not in your own situation.

Document what is happening

improve business process efficiency

A few weeks ago, I read an article about how to improve your business process efficiency. The author mentioned using sticky notes as one of the main tools to do this.

He explained that you should always have some sort of reminder at hand to help you remember important things for your work. He also said that you can use these reminders to make changes to your current processes or create new ones.

I think this idea sounds really helpful because it teaches you to be proactive in making sure everything gets done. You will not only keep track of what needs to be done, but you will also find ways to better organize yourself.

This will especially prove useful if you are someone who suffers from busy-ness disease. If you notice yourself being distracted by all the tasks waiting to be finished, then using such a tool to help you focus could be just what you need.

Develop a team

improve business process efficiency

A leader is not someone who has a title that goes with a room, they are someone who sets an example by their actions. As a business owner or manager, you can’t expect people to work hard for your company if you don’t show them yourself.

As a leader, there will always be people below you, but never under you. This doesn’t mean bully around or use intimidation as tools, it means inspire leadership through action and reward good behavior.

People look up to their leaders, so make sure yours are doing their job well. Are they meeting deadlines? Do they have his/her act together socially and at work? If not, find out why and fix it!

If a member of your staff isn’t performing their duties, take appropriate steps to address the issue, but avoid getting in their face unless you have to. It could hurt their self-confidence more than what you want to improve.

In addition to developing your own personal leadership skills, ask others about theirs. Survey other department heads, peers, and even subordinates to see how they perform their jobs and get tips.

Establish a culture of improvement

improve business process efficiency

A continuous process of improving business processes is what sets an efficient organization apart from one that does not. If you are never told to do something, then you will probably not try hard to find ways to make things better.

At its core, leadership is about asking good questions and creating an environment where people feel comfortable sharing ideas. When everyone in your company feels free to offer suggestions and comments, you get lots of valuable information and input that can help improve services and products.

That’s just how it works!

As leader, your job is to create this open atmosphere by encouraging feedback and discussion, and supporting individuals who want to contribute. By doing so, you strengthen the work ethic and productivity of your employees, which benefits the whole team.

It also helps promote trust between superiors and subordinates, setting up for more effective communication and teamwork in the future. You would be surprised at all the great things someone in a lower position could bring to the table if they were allowed to give their opinion.

Change management

improve business process efficiency

Another way to improve business process efficiency is by changing what you are doing. This can be done through an internal change or external transition.

Internally, your organization could use new software that helps users more efficiently perform their jobs. By using this new tool, they will need to learn how to work with it so that things go smoothly for them.

Externally, there may be ways to offer your services to other companies in different ways. For example, instead of offering phone support, you could develop apps that help people manage their health or do their banking.

Both of these examples require learning about the product and how to implement it, but are still important steps in improving business process efficiency.

You can also start your own service if you have expertise in something. For instance, someone might know how to run a restaurant well, so they can open up a bar/restaurant next. Or maybe someone knows how to fix cars, so they can give car repairs as a side line.

These are just some examples of starting your own business, and not saying that being able to run a café or fix cars is enough to make yourself rich, but you can earn extra money helping others achieve the same goal!”

This article focused mostly on internal changes, but thinking about what you already do and looking into whether those skills would transfer over to another field is equally important.

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