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?
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 and allows for some form of automation. Finding points in your business that need improvement and uncover opportunities to automate your operations and improve efficiency.
What Is Business Process Optimization?
Business process optimization (BPO) refers to increasing a company’s efficiency by improving its processes. It’s considered an essential subset of business process management.
Common BPO goals include:
- Anticipating necessary changes
- Improving communication
- Improving quality control
- Reducing overhead
- Refining product testing
- Removing redundancies
- Streamlining workflows
However, the purpose of BPO is never to find a one-time solution. Going with a new supplier might meet the goal of reducing costs, but that’s not a solution that involves addressing the entire process.
Instead, business process optimization could involve adopting more energy-efficient manufacturing practices that lower utility costs or discovering how to anticipate market demand to enjoy a discount through bulk ordering.
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 exceptional customer experience on a regular basis. 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?
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.
Take A Systematic Approach to Business Process Optimization
There are three main reasons most companies decide to invest in business process optimization.
1. Remaining in Compliance
Sometimes, new regulations demand that a company modifies the ways they’ve traditionally done business. It might mean changing their internal rules about when or how employees can work. When the GDPR was implemented, many companies in the EU had to change how they generated and contacted leads.
2. Boosting Revenues and/or Cutting Overhead
Another popular benefit of business process optimization is increasing profits, whether that happens through raising revenues or cutting unnecessary expenditures.
Cutting waste could mean identifying bloated overhead, but it could also mean optimizing processes that take too much time or result in lengthy bottlenecks. Both represent real costs that can be eliminated to improve profit margins.
3. Increase Process Visibility
Many BPO professionals are merely tasked with making it easier for upper management to understand their company’s processes. For example, over the years, supply chains can become convoluted and confusing to effectively monitor, especially if it involves numerous sites or third parties.
Therefore, the first step toward improving the supply-chain process may involve simply making it easier to monitor performance. This will allow management to understand all its “moving parts” and make strategic decisions going forward about further improvements.
Automation Allows Businesses Processes to Expand Rapidly
Before automation, there was only one way for a business working at 100% to grow their operation, and that was to hire more staff. This means additional salaries, time dedicated to training the new team members, and potentially expanding office space to accommodate new hires. That is not a very agile process of growing business operations.
Now, with workflow automation, time-consuming tasks can be automated with the goal of cutting down the time it takes to work through a business process from beginning to end. In some cases, processes that used to take days can be completed in under an hour.
This automation creates additional capacity for a business to take on new clients and bigger jobs without having to invest time, money, and resources in a slow, outdated expansion process. The secret to getting the most from business process optimization is to make it an ongoing task. By treating it as an ongoing priority and one that is continuously reviewed for improvements, your business will begin to see continued success and productivity gains.
Want to see an example of how we implemented business process optimization and automation ourselves? Here is an infographic of how we completely revamped our Accounts Payable process!
Ready to Automate Your Business Process?
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. One of the tools at our disposal are document management systems, which can enable you to collect, catalogue, transfer, and store documents in a seamless, automated manner.
Want to learn more about workflow automation? Fill out this form, and one of our experts will reach out to answer all your questions!
Digital Content Specialist