Your organization should never conduct business process improvement in a bubble. Instead, it’s crucial to gain vital information and insight by looking outside your company to peers, partners, and even competitors to see how they optimize processes to achieve business goals.
Here are six ways to improve business processes that may fuel ideas for your own organization’s initiatives.
1. Speeding up approval times
In many process workflows, gaining approval from a manager or business leader is par for the course. This step is typically where many bottlenecks occur because of manual processes, miscommunication, and a lack of visibility into the full process.
Through process improvement, organizations can not only speed up the approval process but also reduce employees’ downtime while they wait for approvals. In an automated process, employees can ensure the information they provide to managers is complete and accurate, which can speed up this part of the process, eliminating the need for managers to backtrack to find the details they need to grant approvals.
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2. Reducing data errors
In processes that require any kind of data entry, there’s a chance that someone in the process may provide incorrect or incomplete information. For example, an invoice may have the wrong supplier details, or an email may use a misspelled email address.
These errors not only halt the process, but require people to backtrack to find out what went wrong. Often, the incorrect information is fixed and the process can move forward. But sometimes, employees may not be able to complete the process due to the missing information.
Use process improvement to make sure your organization’s data entry isn’t causing inefficiencies.
3. Balancing resource allocation
Another common way to improve a business process is to make sure human resources are allocated well. For example, if a business allocates too many people to a specific part of the process, it may result in excessive employee downtime and expense.
On the other hand, if the organization allocates too few employees to a section of the process, employees will be overworked, risking burnout. Process improvement can help identify areas of poor resource allocation so your organization can ensure it’s balancing employee time properly throughout the workflow.
4. Improving communication issues
In most modern organizations, employees are overwhelmed with information. There are countless emails, instant messages, and phone calls to field, along with numerous project management or workflow applications to manage.
With so much information to process each day, employees are bound to miss important details they need to achieve their goals. You can improve business processes by streamlining communication so that the right employees get the right details at the right time, instead of all employees shuffling through multiple communication channels to find exactly what they need.
5. Filling skills gaps
In some organizations, only a handful of employees with specific training and skills can complete certain parts of a process. Problems can arise when those employees are ill, on vacation, or unable to work for any reason.
Instead of letting processes come to a standstill, train multiple team members to complete all areas of the process. When the subject matter experts are away, then other employees can fill in to ensure the process remains on track.
6. Learning from all employees
An important element of many process improvement methodologies is soliciting feedback from many different employees. This is a key way to improve business processes because it can provide valuable insight you may not otherwise get.
If your competitors seek feedback from all employees but your organization only considers insights from the leadership team, you’ll lack the quality and depth of information needed to improve processes that your competitors have.
Did these business process improvement examples provide a few ideas that you can apply to your own organization? Remember that improvement should be continuous, and you can always find ways to optimize workflows to better meet your organization’s goals.