In a perfect world, a business would run efficiently without any initial effort and adjustments necessary. In reality, however, businesses are plagued with a multitude of inefficient processes that keep it from growing consistently. Whether it’s outdated software programs that take several minutes to open or the exorbitant number of meetings that take up everyone’s time with little to no results, these inefficiencies can create a considerable amount of waste, both in terms of time and money. Consider speeding up your business processes with these five steps:
Pinpoint Processes That Create Time Waste
Any process that wastes time should be removed or improved. Tasks that waste time also waste capital since that amount of time wasted is still paid for by the company. Since you are paying your employees an hourly wage rather than per task completed, you want them to get the task done in as little time as possible. For instance, sticking to the analog way of tracking employee hours and attendance, which is through punch time cards, makes the process longer per employee to punch in and out before and after work and the breaks in between. If it takes them 10 minutes just to punch out after work, that’s 10 minutes you are paying for without getting any output.
Get Your Employees on Board
Poor reception and adoption is the main reason why any attempts to improve processes fail. It is difficult for your employees to change how they work if they don’t understand why it’s important for that change to happen. Employees can dismiss any process improvement projects coming down from the executive branch as “unnecessary” and “a waste of their time”. For example, automating your business’ data backup to the Cloud may require employees to use a new program, which they may protest to out of their unwillingness to learn said program. Explaining that the new system eliminates the need for frequent manual backups and that it reduces errors over time can help them understand why it’s being installed.
Automate Repetitive Processes
Technology is the bedrock on which every modern business is built on. You cannot hope to compete in your respective market or niche without the help of some form of technology running in the background. Nowadays, there is plenty of software built specifically to automate one or multiple business processes, the most common of which are customer relations management(CRM) and content management software(CMS). Although automation has been given a bad rap due to the fact that it threatens the livelihood of human workers, it can be integrated into a business without any resulting loss in employees.
Optimize Your Checkout Process
One of the most important processes in business, especially for brick-and-mortar retail stores, is checkout. How complicated your checkout process is can be the deciding factor to whether or not your customer actually makes the purchase. Having multiple payment methods is also important for today’s customers. Only allowing payment by cash can severely limit your sales and profits. Work with a merchant services provider, so you can start accepting credit and debit cards and other forms of electronic payment.
Establish a Centralized System
If an employee has to switch to three different apps to get one task done, not only is he/she wasting time by doing so, but it also creates a workflow that is prone to human errors, such as sending documents to the wrong coworker or updating the wrong team about a high-level project. Adopt or build a centralized system where tasks can be done in a single location. This cuts down on task completion time and reduces cost by consolidating multiple third-party services, like your office’s collaboration platform and file-sharing system, into one product.
Similar to sports, speed is a critical factor in business. Whoever can build faster can leverage opportunities more effectively, which ultimately results in faster growth and a better bottom line. When you start purging your business of processes that don’t work, make sure the crusade does not affect processes that are already running like clockwork. Involve your employees when finding these processes. Since their scope of work falls within the bounds of one or more of these processes, they can give you a better insight as to which ones need improvement and which ones you should leave as is.