Processes to improve your productivityApril 25th, 2023 By Amywright
Did you know that inefficiency can cost organisations up to 30% of their revenue every year? With this in mind, if you’re a business owner, or you’re involved in running a business, you need to be constantly looking for ways to iron out any inefficiencies in your business processes. If you’re not sure if your business is running at its most efficient, have a look out for any of these warning signs in the day-to-day running of your business:
- You have frustrated staff
- Your production costs are too high
- You have piles of paperwork
- You are receiving customer complaints
- You have missed reasonable deadlines
This list is by no means exhaustive but if you have noticed any of these in your business, it is probably time to review and improve your business processes.
The first step to improving you productivity in doing this is identifying the problem areas. To do this you need to:
Review your current processes
Create workflows of the current processes that are required for your business to operate effectively. Write down what you believe the purpose of each process is, if it doesn’t have a purpose, evaluate its necessity, and cut out any steps that don’t contribute to your organisation’s productivity.
Break down your process into small steps
To ensure you don’t miss out any of the smaller steps, write down the steps in your processes as if you are giving instructions to a complete beginner. This will help identify any processes that you might not have deemed important enough to identify in the first step.
Identify any frustrations
Talk to your staff and ask for candid feedback on the strengths and weaknesses of your current processes. Ask them to be as specific as possible, show them the processes workflow and ask them to identify at what stages of the workflow they feel can be improved. You could offer for this step to be anonymised if your employees are more comfortable in giving feedback in this format.
If it is possible, ask a selection of your customers or clients for direct feedback on the service you provide. You may wish to do this through an NPS survey. Once you’ve identified these pain points, it’s time to consider how you can improve on them. Here are some common ways in which you can streamline your business processes:
1. Automate as much as you can
Is your contact database made up of a manually filled-in Excel spreadsheet? Are there emails that you send out manually that could be put into an automated workflow? There are a number of platforms that you could be using to make these processes smoother. Platforms such as HubSpot offer a free CRM which you can use to build a database. You can link forms on your website to your CRM so that when someone fills in your form the data enters into your CRM automatically.
Software such as PandaDocs can simplify the process of generating quotes, contracts, or billing documents. These billing reminders can then easily be templatised into emails and automated using a marketing automation software. Whatever industry you’re in, there are software platforms that can save you time, you just need to identify the ones that are right for you.
2. Use as few systems as possible
If you’re using a variety of different systems for your everyday tasks you might be losing out on precious time by switching between the systems. Nowadays it is easy to find a platform that can carry out most, if not all, of the tasks you require.
If you find yourself manually entering contacts into a spreadsheet, then going into your task management system to update a project, and then heading somewhere else to file an invoice, you might be relieved to know this can all be achieved in one place. Systems like Zoho or Salesforce have a variety of tools for all your business needs, and they also integrate with a number of platforms to make your life just that bit easier.
3. Move over to a cloud based system
Paper documents are problematic for a variety of reasons:
- They can easily get lost or misplaced by colleagues
- They aren’t as easy to change or alter
- They aren’t easily shareable
Physical documents can also take up a lot of space – that room in your office that is currently full of filing cabinets could be changed into a little meeting room or could be used as a manager’s office. It sounds simple but even tasks like walking to the filing cabinet and shifting through documents uses up a lot more time than finding them in the cloud. A system such as Google Drive is free, easy to set up and user friendly.
4. Outsource certain business processes
Are your employees wearing multiple hats within the business? You might have a busy marketing department that could benefit from the outsourcing of certain tasks such as design or content writing. In this case it might be better to leave it to the experts so that your team has more time for other tasks. Hiring a third-party to do your customer service, IT, or HR is a great time saver and you can be sure jobs are being done by trained staff.
Outsourcing gives your own staff members more time on their area of expertise and as a result you should see a bigger focus on growth throughout the company.
5. Become ISO 9001 certified
The ISO 9001 standard is designed to drive down costs, improve your productivity, and increase customer satisfaction. The standard requires that you standardise your manufacturing and documentation processes which will ensure that the stages outline above are executed well and regularly.
A streamlines business leads to happier staff and increased profit, so it’s important that you regularly review your organisations processes. Using these methods outlined above you should begin to see improvements in your performance and a decrease in wasted time and resources.
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