As we approach the end of the year, businesses will look back and reflect on how their organization performed over the last 12 months. Goals will be set for next year and hopefully a plan will be developed to achieve them.
As once quoted by Einstein, we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” A thought provoking statement to consider when determining what needs to be changed in your organization to achieve better results next year.
A business process is a collection of related, structured activities or tasks that can produce a specific service or product for a particular customer(s). It’s imperative that every company create activities and tasks that will help accomplish specific organizational goals.
Set your business goals for the coming year and stick with them. No matter what the goals are, an important piece to achieving them is to review your current business processes and determine how to improve them.
A simple way to begin is to review the processes within each department and create a systematic approach to improving those processes. We often see a break down within individual groups, therefore; it’s important to methodically examine your entire organization—department by department. The goal should be to get the best result from start to finish from each group and join them together as one entity.
We work with many types of clients in many different service industries. Most of these businesses have a separate process for sales, labor/production, accounting and human resources. Each department usually has a very detailed and precise process for each task they perform. A breakdown often occurs in the transition from one department to the next. This is often where opportunities exist to address and improve the overall business production.
Identifying the gaps
Think about a construction company that heavily relies on field technicians to complete their job efficiently. When the job is ready to close it is then transferred to accounting. Accounting receives a spreadsheet submitted by the site lead, which is then entered into the database. An invoice is automatically generated and the hours from that invoice are pulled at each pay period for payroll processing.
In this scenario, not only is there a delay in the process of waiting for the submission of the spreadsheet, but there is also duplicate effort when those spreadsheet numbers reach accounting and are manually re-entered into a database.
The gap in this process could be eliminated by creating a simple Web form that could be completed by the site lead in the field. When the data is entered into this form using a tablet or other mobile device, the information is now automatically uploaded into the database. Duplicate efforts have now been eliminated, speeding up the billing process.
In order for process review to be effective there must be clearly defined goals and objectives for the organization. For owners who simply want to cut costs and resources, process improvements will only go so far.
The real value in process review is to identify ways to do things better and more efficiently where the goal should not just be to reduce costs, but to improve capacity without adding additional costs.