How to review your processes

A New Year can be exciting and fresh with opportunity. It feels a little like the slate has been wiped clean and your batteries are recharged. Now is the time to write all those fresh ideas down and start planning ahead, and while it’s good to be forward thinking, it is also a good idea to reflect on current processes and whether there is any room for improvement.

When processes have been in place for a while, they become second nature and never get questioned. For example: why do we do it this way?  There are different reasons that processes become redundant. You might have implemented new technology that simplifies the way your people work or perhaps your business has grown too much for an old process to be efficient. A thorough review of your processes can boost efficiency, productivity and your bottom line. Of course, by boosting efficiency you are also creating room for new opportunities for growth. Below are four steps for reviewing your processes.

1. Draw a flow chart – Choose a process that you think might need rethinking and record each step of the process from end to end. This may entail involving other people who might do a range of sub-tasks – it’s important to capture every detail. Ensure you speak with everyone involved in the process and leave nothing out. You will also be able to sound out how each individual feels about the process and whether they think any steps can be improved. Check out this site for a Free Diagram Tool

2.    Analyse the tasks – based on the steps involved and feedback from the people carrying out the task – flag the steps that you believe need improving, altered or ditched altogether. Are the tasks efficient? Or are they tedious and time-consuming? Are there any delays etc. Do they make sense? Once you have flagged these steps, go back to the beginning.

3.   Thrash it out with the team – Discuss each individual issue – one at a time – and design a new approach that eliminates the issues. Get everyone involved – this will help with buy-in. Pick their brains and write every suggestion down – no matter how far-fetched they seem. Go through each suggestion and narrow them down, consider how well they will work or potentially fail. Once the new processes have been agreed on create a detailed flow chart and document each step.

4.   Communicate – share the documented process and go through each new step and explain why the new process is an improvement. It’s important to get total buy-in as people tend to mistrust change and will resist it if they are not convinced.

ERP software is a great tool to streamline your processes, increasing efficiency and productivity and therefore profitability. Talk to us about the most suitable ERP for your business.