As the year draws to a close, many businesses will start their planning for next year. While it’s important to be forward-thinking, reviewing your current processes should be a big part of your annual planning and development. After all, we get into a routine, with each task becoming second nature and often don’t question the status quo much afterwards.
But how do you know if you’re still using the most effective method? Perhaps introducing a new technology could simplify the way you work, or maybe your business has grown too much for an old process to remain efficient.
Reviewing your procedures at the end of the year can boost productivity, efficiency and profitability, opening new opportunities for your business to grow.
Here are four steps to help streamline your operations for a productive 2018:
Map your process
Pick out a process you think could be improved and record each step of the task from start to end. Remember, each aspect can be complex, containing a range of sub-steps that you or your colleagues may be unaware of. This is why it’s important not to shy away from detail. If there are a few different people involved in the task, be sure to speak to more than one. This will guarantee steps aren’t forgotten, while also helping you gauge the different approaches team members are taking to the same tasks. Note: flow charts are a great tool to use for this, as they provide a visual representation of how things work.
Analyse your process
Using the process map developed in the last step, investigate and flag out any areas that you think could be improved, changed or redeveloped.
- Where is productivity being compromised?
- What tasks are tedious and time-consuming?
- At what points are processes being delayed?
- Which areas do employees find overwhelming?
Once these areas are flagged, it’s important to trace the problem back to its origin. Keep in mind that small issues are often just symptoms of bigger problems. Chat to those affected, find out what they find most frustrating about the process and how they think this could improve.
Redevelop the process
Using the feedback from staff, design a new version of the process that eliminates the issues identified. Host a workshop for the teams involved, picking their brains for any new approaches, changes or suggestions. Make an effort to note down everyone’s ideas, no matter how large, small or far-fetched they may seem. Next, narrow down all the options, considering any potential opportunities, threats and foreseeable failures that could emerge as a consequence of implementing the change. Once you and your team agree on the new process, create a detailed flow chart documenting each and every step.
Communicate the changes
Without proper communication, even the ideas with great potential fail to work. This is why the roll-out of your new process is a significant step. It’s important to remember that humans are creatures of habit; and while change is often good, people still tend to resist it. Communicating the benefits of the changes, ensuring individuals are trained effectively, have adequate guidance and are eased into it are essential in the transition. Remember, no change is smooth and teething problems are likely to happen. Even good change takes time to show results, so be patient.
We’re here to help
By providing the software that’s right for you, Jiwa can help you streamline your business for the new year, maximising time, efficiency and helping you make more informed business decisions. We take the stress out of the equation so your business can focus on what it does best. For more information on the benefits of a scalable management solution, contact us today.