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Automate and Streamline Your Business Processes

As corporate workers, we tend to complicate stuff, mainly when it’s a business process or workflow. It is really about following one or more procedures involved in the entire department or company. The more efficient and capable you are using these processes to streamline your work, the earlier you will be able to accomplish and go home.

There are necessary processes that work effectively to enhance productivity and deliver quick results. However, I’m sure you have probably also seen the results of inefficient processes. Unhappy clients, stressed colleagues, missed deadlines, and cost increases are just some of the issues faced by dysfunctional procedures.

Thus, that is why improving the entire workflow is so important if they don’t work well or fast.

In this article, we’ll share steps on how to start improving your business processes:

STEP 1: Review your current overall business process or workflow.

One would be amazed at how many large organizations, even the most significant ones, do not document or define their task processes.

So the first step is, therefore, to list down every procedure that is followed by daily tasks.  Keep the list straightforward. Enumerate each process, write down its objectives or strategies, and jot all the individuals responsible for making it happen.

The intention is to be as comprehensive and thorough as possible. Even if it appears like it’s a routinary task, such as reviewing previous day task lists, it requires somebody to set aside time and effort. Write them all down.

It is essential to look at every stage in detail, as there may be sub-steps in some procedures that you may not be aware of. Consult with people who always look into those processes to guarantee that nothing significant is left unwritten.

STEP 2: Rank your processes according to priority.

Most individuals are amazed by the number of procedures they have to take every day or week to perform their job. Your next step is to identify the priority level of your processes.

You can start ranking every business workflow you now have written down in your list from the most important to the least important. This exercise may not be as easy as it sounds, especially if we believe all procedures to be crucial.

Also, many procedures are often interdependent with one another, which makes ranking even tricky. Without the other, you can’t do one. As hard as possible, we suggest that you make every effort to classify your procedures to decide which way to streamline first, second, third, and so on.

STEP 3: Break down the workflow even further into detailed steps.

One of your procedures is to break down into smaller steps — the more granular, the better. For some, drawing the process out on a piece of paper makes it easier to fork the entire stage. Others prefer to describe their business processes in a spreadsheet or Word document. If the method includes other people–as usual–it is also an excellent idea to share your drawing or spreadsheet with others so that they can fill out the blanks.

Again, keeping it simple yet detailed is essential. Many business processes are complex that they can easily conceal all the different scenarios, dependencies, or decisions in any particular method. The important thing is to determine the start, middle, and end stages of the entire process.

STEP 4: Gather feedback from people involved in those steps.

“Progress, not perfection,” as what they say, is the best way to improve any company workflow or process. Very few are ever ideal procedures. Besides, any company and the world around us are changing continually, so it makes sense to change our task procedures overtime to cope with the progress.

As such, there’s always wisdom in asking colleagues, peers, managers, and team members for assistance and suggestions. Receive feedback from anyone engaged in the company workflow chain or the results produced by the method directly or indirectly. Seek your view on how to simplify measures, enhance effectiveness, or perhaps even attempt something entirely fresh. 

While you will sometimes detect major process modifications, the input to improve is often minor and subtle. Don’t discredit these tweaks. Even the smallest improvement can make a significant difference.

STEP 5: Analyze the issues you are getting from your business process.

As a start, you can ask the following questions to guide your analysis:

  • Which steps take the longest or create(s) the most delays?
  • What frustrations do team members or clients have in your processes? 
  • Is there a bottleneck within these steps? 
  • Where do expenses rise or quality decrease? 

Try your best to answer all these questions in full detail.

STEP 6: Decide to automate your workflow.

Streamlining your processes isn’t complete without automation. Even if your workforce is competent, there’s a speed limit that a human brain or physicality can deliver. 

Working Ladies Using Calculator

Source: Boingboing

In your processes that you’ve listed down and analyzed, determine which stages you can automate — those that require minimum to zero human intervention. Afterward, target an expected delivery time using an automation method.

Check whether you can shorten the steps that cause delays or eliminate the bottlenecks when you automate the steps on that stage. 

Well, the great news is that there are plenty of contemporary solutions available to improve company procedures and workflows, depending on the nature of the business. These solution functions and features are sometimes references to as’ workflow’ or software for BPM (Business Process Management). These applications intend to facilitate the central collection of information, automate company workflow steps, and provide better visibility using charts and informative reports. 

As an example, business owners deal with multiple records and data in a single day inventory. There may be Inventory managers who want to be sure that nothing gets overlooked. In this case, these companies can automate inventory management to stay on schedule and make sure that everything gets tracked.

What you can also do is to partner with an IT outsourcing company to look into automating your processes.

STEP 7: Set a schedule to test out your new workflow.

Obviously, the next best thing that you can do is to test the effectiveness of your new, enhanced workflow. To do so, you need to assess how it responds to the live workplace. For a start, you may want to identify a pilot team to run the new process and give feedback.

STEP 8: Be ready to adjust and adapt to the new business process.

Once your new workflow in the live workplace appears to be working well, be ready to improve based on your results. It takes time to introduce new stuff, so be not impatient. Evaluate the efficiency of each workflow method and make sure it operates brilliantly. If you have to create some adjustments on the manner, create it.

STEP 9: Evaluate and refine continuously

No process or workflow is perfect, as previously indicated. So you expect your method to improve over time once you have adjusted to your new workflow and introduced an innovative automation software.  Set a periodic schedule to evaluate and refine the entire operation. The process may take a while to get things smoothly, but remember that this is the right approach to streamlining everything.

Final Recommendation: Allow improvements and innovation to happen for productivity purposes. 

Jonathan Adolfo

About 

As the Business Development Officer for Syntactics and the Executive Director for the CDO ICT Business Council, Jonathan is certainly an IT expert and enthusiast. With years of experience in the industry, he's built up his knowledge and skills and is sharing these through insightful blogs and articles.

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