Many factors play a role in building a flourishing business, one of which is business process management. A business process involves the steps your company takes to accomplish specific goals. Business process management means constantly reviewing and enhancing each of your company's operations. By doing this, you increase the overall organizational value.
Once companies expand, they also become more complex, involving more people in the daily operations and more variability in customer's expectations. Therefore, it can get tricky to control the processes as they become variable and complex, increasing risks to businesses.
To build a scalable company and continue moving forward, business leaders need to improve their processes effectively.
Why is improving business processes imperative for an organization's growth?
Companies go through a constant digital change in today's competitive business environment. It's challenging to keep your business on track, and ineffective processes can adversely affect your whole business operations. It takes only one inefficient process to impact resources, profit, and product quality negatively.
Here are some benefits of optimizing business processes:
- You ensure your organization has an effective team and the required skills to help you achieve business goals;
- You and your team become more productive;
- You get a constant approach and output for your clients;
- Your job becomes more enjoyable;
- You decrease workflow time;
- You reduce errors.
Organizations are often resistant to change, and that's somewhat understandable, as it is not comfortable getting out of your comfort zone. But the truth is, you can't expect success unless you choose discomfort. You may find it challenging to figure out the exact steps to improve your business processes. How can you be sure you're doing it right? Luckily, by enrolling in a training program, you can develop the necessary skills to lead process development. By getting a Green belt certification, you will be able to implement process improvement projects in your company. You will learn how to enhance business processes by identifying, examining and decreasing issues in the processes.
Practical ways to enhance business processes
Map the existing process
This is a no-brainer step – before making any changes to the process, it's critical to visualize it. Process maps can give you a visual representation of process workflows, and thus, it allows you to understand and interpret them better and then make the necessary improvements.
This visual angle of the processes provides a detailed perspective on the process workflow elements, such as accountable employees, tasks, systems, and tools. This way, it is easier for you to identify issues that negatively impact your business performance.
Once you've recognized what's not right, you can take action to improve the processes.
Several tools can help you map the processes, such as Lucidchart or Microsoft Visio. Or you can simply use paper and a pen – if investing in such a tool is not among your options.
Start asking questions about the process
Since you are a business leader, you likely have a clear picture of how your processes work. However, your employees have the most knowledge about your business processes. Thus, the next step in the process improvement is asking questions to your staff. Check whether you got all the details of your map right.
Your employee's perspective on this is crucial because it helps you learn things you'd otherwise miss out. Suppose you want to enhance your client's onboarding process by reducing the onboarding time. Since you are the leader, you know the steps of the actual process. However, you are not aware of what leads to a delay in onboarding the customers. Once you talk to the project team, you figure out the problem – your sales team is not using the systems correctly to update the project time about new customers.
These details may seem insignificant, but they are critical to improving your process strategy. And the only way to learn these details is by asking your employees the right questions. You should focus on finding out the desired result of the process, the monotonous aspects that can be cut out, and the issues they encounter in their daily work.
Examine the current workflow of your process
This is perhaps the most time-consuming yet imperative step in improving your business processes. You can use the map you've created to establish the gaps and opportunities for progress in the workflow and then create a plan to redesign the actual process more efficiently.
Ask yourself if you can reduce costs by saving money, time or other resources and figure out what process tasks lead to delays in the output. Also, consider the tasks that are repetitive and can be automated. These are just some questions that you can use as guidelines to create an effective process strategy.
Remake the process workflow to fill gaps
If you go through all the steps mentioned above, you'll acquire enough data to start creating an action plan. Based on the insight you got from your analysis, write down the changes that will fill the gaps in your process and boost operations performance.
Collaborate with your process team to identify the most effective solutions. Don't overlook a suggestion just because it seems minor – it may be impactful. Once you create a list of all the ideas and changes you can implement, consider how they will influence the process outcomes and then prioritize them according to the business impact.
Automate repetitive process tasks
Redundancy decreases productivity – it's just like eating the same meal daily. The absence of creativity will negatively impact your employees. You can use the information from your process analysis to evaluate those repetitive process tasks and find ways to automate them.
Automation facilitates the process workflow and speeds up your processes. Plus, it enhances employees' productivity because they get to direct their efforts towards doing something more creative and valuable for the business.
Evaluate the efficiency of the workflow changes
Use key performance indicators to monitor the performance of the enhanced processes. What kind of outcomes do they produce, and how effective are they? Are the operations executed faster? Did the errors reduce? What about the employees? How did they improve? Are they more productive than they used to be?
By answering these questions, you will get a clear picture of how your process improvement strategy impacts your business. That way, you will know that the effort and time you invested in enhancing the processes were all worth it.
Obviously, the process improvement doesn't stop here, and you still have to seek more opportunities to enhance the processes further. The only way to stay above your competitors in an ever-changing world is to evaluate and improve your business constantly.