7 Effective Business Process Improvement Tips
Your business process is, basically, everything your business does, from bringing on new customers to delivering the final products. If efficient, it can give your business a true competitive advantage. If it’s inefficient, it can shrink your margins, create tensions and turnover in your organization, and, ultimately, lead to a business failure.
Here are 7 tips that can help you improve your business process to improve your competitiveness.
Don’t Try a Solution before You Really Understand the Problem
You might start out believing you know where the problem is in your processes. You might already have a solution in mind. However, if you start out by changing processes without analyzing the problem, you may find that the problem isn’t what you thought it was. You may even make it worse.
Bring together people with different perspectives on the problem in your process. Talk about what everyone thinks is going wrong and listen to their ideas about solutions. It’s likely you’ll get insight you didn’t anticipate so you can make better solutions.
Mapping Can Be an Effective Tool
Mapping your business processes is a formal way to bring together everyone’s insight on the problem. It creates a consensus view of what’s going on in your organization, and allows you to model the impact of solutions on the entire process, not just the problematic step or steps.
Make Sure Technological Solutions Actually Solve the Problem
Technology has solved so many problems it’s easy to imagine that it can solve any problem. However, before you deploy any technological solution, make sure that it will actually address the shortcoming in your business process and not just give your team the tools to keep making the same mistakes faster and more frequently.
Make the Smallest Effective Change
You want to make a change that will solve the problem, but try to make business process changes as minimal as possible. The more changes you make, the more time you will lose in retraining and transitioning from the old process to the new process.
The more changes you introduce, the greater the uncertainty about the effect of those changes. Making precise, targeted changes to your process reduces the risk that unintended consequences can make you worse off than you were before.
Management Must Model the New Rules
This should go without saying, but nothing will undermine the effectiveness of but nothing will undermine a new business process faster than management not following the new rules. The rules are either there for everyone, or they’re there for no one.
Once management starts to “cheat” on the new process, people take it as a sign that the process is no good, and everyone will look for ways to cheat. Chaos will result as everyone is looking for shortcuts and doing things the way they want them done (often the way that sloughs the most work off their desk and onto someone else’s).
Give the New Process a Chance
This goes along with the tip above. A new process takes time to show its value. A new process will seem harder to many employees at first because it’s different, and it may seem slower for a while as everyone is learning their new roles and responsibilities.
You have to stick to your new process long enough for everyone to learn it thoroughly and follow it smoothly before you can truly assess its impact.
Hire a Business Process Consultant
Sometimes, the best way to get perspective on your problems is to have someone from outside the organization look at your processes. A business process consultant will not only be able to give you this outside perspective, but they will bring experience from other organizations that have faced obstacles similar to yours. They will have experience about what types of solutions work and which ones don’t.
If your business is being harmed by inefficient processes, Jolt Consulting can help. Please contact us today to learn how our business process consulting can improve your bottom line.