As a business owner or manager, you know the importance of streamlining your processes. As your business grows, you will face challenges as you stack customers with unique needs and hire more employees to take on higher volumes. While it seems like a daunting task, implementing process improvement can help you save time and money while improving the quality of your product or services. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to get started. Let's look at simple steps to help start your process improvement journey.
The first step in any process improvement project is identifying areas that need improvement. There are functions in your business that inherently operate smoothly and others that require too many steps leading to breakage risks. It could be as simple as customer service ticketing to complex internal operational processes. First, look for current processes that don't seem very efficient because fixing those will lead to the most immediate lift. Once you've identified potential areas of improvement, it's time to move on to the next step.
Out of 20 companies surveyed, 55% had returns of $100,000 - $500,000 from business process management improvements made.
Once you have identified potential areas of improvement, it's time to take a closer look. Most experts consider process visualization as the best place to start. Start by documenting each step of the process and any related inputs and outputs (e.g., data points). Consider using a Business Process Modeling (BPM) tool because it makes it easier to spot bottlenecks and opportunities for considerable process improvement. You can easily identify the pain points as soon as you have an overview of your current business processes. Don't forget to involve key stakeholders such as customers and employees throughout this step – their input can be invaluable when making decisions about process improvements!
In 60% of jobs, one-third of the tasks required by employees could be automated.
Now that you've analyzed your current processes and identified opportunities for improvement, it's time to start developing new ones! There are a few different approaches you can take here. The most important thing is whatever changes you make should result in measurable improvements in efficiency or quality (or both!). Some examples include simplifying complex tasks, automating manual processes with low-code technology, eliminating unnecessary steps, or combining different tasks into one streamlined process. Involve relevant stakeholders during this stage so everyone is on board with changes before implementation.
Low-code application platforms can help users build custom software solutions 10x faster than traditional software development.
Once your new processes are developed, it's time to test them out! Ideally, it would be best if you did this in a controlled environment before rolling out changes across your entire organization, helping ensure that potential issues are addressed before implementation begins in earnest. For example, roll out the new process on a segment of your portfolio and conduct a champion challenge. Give it a reasonable time frame and measure the outcome of your new process against your old process. After reviewing test results and making necessary modifications, it's time to implement the changes across your organization and start realizing the benefits of process improvement!
According to Gartner, 95% of BPM initiatives are successful.
Process improvement doesn't have to be an overwhelming task if approached using these four simple steps. Remember that you don't have to map every single process out. Focus on the parts of your business that are inefficient or areas where you anticipate growth first. Once you improve processes in one area and see the benefits, with some planning and preparation, businesses can reap great rewards from taking advantage of improvements without disrupting operations.