How your business works can significantly impact your production efficiency. You may not realise it, but there may be some steps in your processes that are overly complicated, prone to issues, and hinder you from actually achieving maximum efficiency.
This is why it’s important that you streamline your business processes. Streamlining means simplifying your workflow and eliminating the steps that aren’t necessary. By doing this, not only can you save a huge amount of time, you can also get more work done with less stress and resources. Ready to streamline your processes to improve your efficiency? Here’s a quick guide to help you out.
STEP #1: Review your current processes
You cannot successfully streamline if you don’t know what your exact business processes are. A business process, is a series of repeatable steps or tasks that you have to perform on a regular basis. This may include taking orders from customers, generating invoices, and accepting payments.
When reviewing your current processes, you have to map all the different steps and document them. Make sure you list down everything you’re presently doing - from how you take retail orders to how you fulfill them. You can also sit down with your team and ask them the steps they are following when completing their tasks.
Bear in mind that you don’t have to be too formal when it comes to reviewing and documenting your existing processes. You can simply use pen and paper if you don’t have a tool that can create online process diagrams.
STEP #2: Assess the results
Once the business processes are all laid out visually, it will be easier for you to see the flaws and identify the unnecessary steps in each. But if you’re having a hard time finding inefficiencies, you can ask yourself these questions:
- What are the steps in this particular process that require too much time and effort?
- Are there any tasks that are labour intensive and need heavy manual work?
- What are the steps that are prone to mistakes and delays?
The whole point of step #2 is to pinpoint the stages in your workflow that are impacting your efficiency and productivity.
STEP #3: Streamline
Now that you have identified the biggest problems in your business processes, it’s time to either remove them or improve them. Improving may include automation and using technology to help you get more things done.
For example, if you’ve discovered in step #2 that managing retail orders and sending paper invoices manually are taking up too much of your time, automate them using a good order management system so you can focus on other tasks and become more efficient. Similarly, if your main problem is getting stuck with tedious inventory management, consider investing in a dedicated inventory system.
STEP #4: Implement and start adjusting
The final step is to put your streamlined business processes to work. This is pretty much the fun part because you get to test out your new workflow. But bear in mind that although this may look easy, it can be challenging - especially if you and your staff are used to the old, comfortable way of doing things.
The best strategy is to start small. Implement your new process in one store or one part of the business first and then check if everything is going as planned before you apply that process to your other branches/business sectors. Remember, your goal here is to improve your efficiency, so it's important to monitor if you are succeeding using the streamlined workflow you’ve developed. It’s also important to bring your staff along with you so make sure you explain to them that the new workflow was created to lighten their loads and help them be more productive.
Increased production efficiency can't be achieved if you have complex business processes. If you’re serious about getting more quality work done so you can earn higher profits and have more satisfied customers, then we think you should begin streamlining your current workflow. Remember you don’t have to aim for a perfect business process. You just have to simplify your existing one and make sure you eliminate the steps and stages that are stopping your business from progressing. Good Luck!
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