What are Business Processes & How Do They Improve Efficiency?

Productivity Technology

What is a business process?

Within your business, how do you ensure core tasks are completed quickly and accurately?  How do you confirm that your customers receive a consistent experience each time they do business with you?

A business process is a standardized process that clearly defines how a job or task is to be carried out. This could be in the form of a flowchart, a document you share with your team, or ingrained during onboarding.

How do you design a business process? What are the advantages to mapping it out? And, how do you improve upon processes as your business continues to grow? All of these are essential questions.

Why Document a Business Process?

Before you consider the unique areas that your business process needs to address, you should first understand why you are creating a business process.

The primary reason to document a business process for your business is to provide consistency throughout your entire team. When a client comes to your business they should be able to expect the same experience every single time; no matter which team member they interact with.

A business process helps your employees provide that exceptional customer experience on a regular basis. Using the process created, they have a clear path forward with no room for confusion, errors, or delays that could compromise the service level you strive to deliver.

Another great reason for creating a business plan is that it allows you to troubleshoot your plan, systems, and identify bottlenecks in your business. Finding points in your business that need improvement are an excellent opportunity to improve your operations and improve efficiency.

Whether you are working on a process for invoicing, shipping, receiving, or another area of your business; there are opportunities to design a specific business process that supports each unique aspect of your operations.

How Do I Streamline Business Processes?

A business process can be compared to writing: you usually have to go through a few drafts before you get the final product. It’s important to remember that a business process is never set in stone and there are always ways to streamline and improve a business process. After all, what is the point in having a business process if it cannot evolve with your business?

The first thing to do when mapping a business process is to sit down with your team and see what they are currently doing.  Your team could already have a process in place that merely lacks cohesion across the full team.  Clearly map out and define each stage of the process.

Next, take a step back and look for inefficiencies.  Are there unnecessary redundancies in the process that could be removed or combined? Ask your team for their input on improving your business process.

Next, look for areas where you could automate tasks. One example of automation that can have an immediate impact on executing your business process is how your team handles documents. Is there a way to improve document handling that avoids the need to print, email, or courier documents?

Even after finding some solutions you may still feel there are issues and find yourself asking, “How do I reduce process bottlenecks?”

Visibly documenting and tracking each stage of your business process is key to identifying bottlenecks that may have made it past the initial review. Are specific tasks holding up the rest of the process? You may need to assign managers to supervise tracking or look for an automated tracking system to oversee your business process. Better tracking will usually equal better process improvements.

Set Specific Goals for Your Business Process

One of the biggest pitfalls of creating a business plan is developing a plan with no measurable outcomes. What do you want to happen after creating this business plan? How will you measure success? When should results be assessed?

Creating SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals will help you understand if your business process is working or if it can be further improved. It also sets expectations for the people around you.

A business process without a goal is like a navigation system without a destination: with no endpoint, there is no direction to follow. 

Bring in Experts When Needed

As you identify bottlenecks or areas that could use automation improvements you may need to bring in the assistance of experts to put the identified improvements into action for your business.

At Office Interiors, we have sat down with countless organizations to examine their business processes, identify areas of improvement, and then implement solutions. Want to get our experts working for you? Contact us today!

Cory Porteous
Marketing Manager
Office Interiors

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