Every business has processes – simply put they define what a business does and how it does it. Delivering $ to the bottom line cannot be achieved by sheer luck – efficient and targeted processes can help deliver customer value – maximize productivity ensuring staff no what to do and when to do it.
Ineffective processes can result in higher costs, longer lead times and poor customer value – so every business should ensure that it’s business processes are the best they can be – but where should they start? Here are 5 top tips to get you on the road to world class business processes.
1/ Document, document, document
Rule one – ensure what you do is documented – create an effective business management system that contains the business processes for your organization – group this by function and ensure each business processes has an owner/sponsor responsible for maintaining documentation. Make sure that the business processes are easily understood by the workforce and they know where to find them when needed. Remember without documented processes – staff will be unaware of what “rules” to follow and will be more likely to make up their own. Check out Business “Process Management Systems: Strategy and Implementation By James F. Chang” for a guide on how to create a system for your organization.
2/ Efficient and waste free
It goes without saying that processes should contain no unnecessary activity – start with the seven wastes and ensure that resources and activities should be minimized to reach the desired results. Just before you think your finished cast another critical eye looking for areas that add value and those that don’t.
Ensure that standard processes exist where possible – for example all too often in business purchasing processes remain variable – one such symptom of this is the humble requisition for which may look different for each department or may not get used at all. Standard processes done in the same way each time – drive efficiency and value – remember it should be easy to understand the current activity – and it should meet all stakeholder requirements to ensure compliance.
4/ Review controls
Don’t overburden your business with unnecessary bureaucracy – striking the right balance between risk and control can be difficult but aim to empower staff appropriately. Ensure that where sign offs or approvals are required that they don’t become a bottleneck and slow the process down unnecessarily
5/ Make processes complete
Think about every eventuality – too often processes are designed for displaying when everything goes right. The process will fall down, errors will occur make sure your processes cover this so staff know what to do when things fail.