The one constant in business – as in life – is change. Competitors are continuously researching new and improved products, your market’s demands and needs change, disruptive technology enters the industry to threaten your business’ livelihood, but those are not for excusing you to sit back in resignation or to hope for an opportunity when your business will improve by itself.
Take charge and steer your company to a position of control with business process optimization and achieve greater success.
You may be wondering what exactly business process optimization is and how it can help your business.
No matter what type of business you have, streamlining your processes for efficiency is always a win-win; this is, in fact, a fundamental of business process optimization.
Through modifying and changing a business’ processes you will remove waste of resources (be it manpower, time or money) and thereby increase the business’ profits and efficiency levels. Using your available resources is key to optimizing any process as it doesn’t need further complications of other processes or resources and business process optimization will also improve the operational dynamics of your business by connecting employees and processes together in a more engaging manner for greater cooperation.
Benefits of Business Process Optimization
As we have already outlined, business process optimization is a strategy to increase efficiency in your business. It is part of a larger initiative and system called business process management, which focuses on the business in a holistic sense to its goals and aims.
This is achieved through the following five objectives:
1. Eliminates redundancies.
Through automation of certain aspects of your business or by automating a process, your business will avoid wasting resources and incurring costly mistakes. Employees will favour roles where they can provide value.
2. Streamlines workflow within departments.
Not all processes are able to be automated, but all can be optimized. By picking certain tasks and processes, employees will function more efficiently and will be better positioned to help grow the business.
3. Improves communication among departments.
From improved info from the process or processes, a business will be able to reduce or completely avoid mistakes, errors, deadlines and to increase the quality of its outputs and products.
4. Aids forecast changes in the market.
Through observation and assessment cycles of business processes, a business is able to further fine-tune and modify the process for enhanced performance. This allows a business to also identify potential problems before they arise.
5. Improves products and services.
A business is able to quickly react and create new products or services as a result of the optimized business process.
Simply put, your business should be seeking long-term ways to add value to its bottom line. Your business needs to be agile to adapt to changes quickly. Maximizing your benefits at the lowest possible cost is the most essential element to increasing your business’ profits.
This results in your business staying relevant to the market with products offering value. It reduces your business’ risks in that should an external change occur, your business will be least affected by it as you can adapt quickly; it optimizes your resources, be it manpower or equipment, with little to no excesses.
It results in increasing quality of your products through standardized and automated functions. It allows the business to enjoy an end-to-end view of their processes which enable you to adapt or modify it as desired.
How to Implement Business Process Optimization
There a number of strategies you can employ to implement business process optimization as part of your business process management initiative.
We’ve highlighted the four cornerstones of business process optimization:
Seek out an area of weakness in your business. Map out its process or processes regulating and controlling it, and then define the goals and purpose of that process or those processes.
Through the mapping of your process or processes, you will be able to analyze their strengths and weakness. Ask yourself whether the goals and purposes of the process are being achieved? Seek out for tell-tale signs of excess waste such through manpower, time or money in the process. Recognize how you could streamline the process or processes.
Action your findings you’ve identified through analysis. Using your available resources, modify and adapt your process for efficiency.
Here you might find technology (or equipment such as tools, machinery, computer software, etc) to automate certain functions within the process or to amalgamate aspects of the process with another process to optimize your organizational structures and processes.
With each change to your process, if it doesn’t optimize or streamline the output or throughput, keep fine-tuning it. Refine your process and your changes. This is also the aspect which offers you the most control over the process and in times of change – or technological disruption – you will find it easiest to adapt your processes from this stage through modification and adaptation.
As we’ve already established, the most effective way in which to streamline a business process is through automation. Finding the right software, robot or tool makes all the difference. Most businesses aren’t aware of or have the finances for software or machinery that could help them to automate a process.
Optimizing a process or processes through automation will grow productivity in the business and also make your employees more productive in that they will be shifted to control functions that require more of their attention.
Automation leads to reduced mistakes and missed deadlines. It allows for greater control of a process with nearly zero downtime as opposed to when an employee leaves a role and the company needs to find a suitable employee and train them accordingly.
It produces consistent work throughput and output of a consistent quality and, it allows for a business to easily adapt or change the process or processes affected in the future.
By eliminating waste – time, money or manpower- and reducing costs, reducing bottlenecks in processes, and mistakes, business process optimization will help a business to grow and scale their business up to meet growing customer demands.
Retaining Sustainable Business Processes
Business process optimization brings a level of transparency to your business. For employees it allows them to better understand the workflow of a business, giving them an end-to-end vision.
This grows more engaged employees that will further strengthen the business’ internal transparency of processes and enforce the goals and aims of the business. This is an initiative that should never alienate employees, but rather to create an environment of collaboration and cooperation for the development of the business.
An optimized business process equips a business with a strategy to act on external changes (such as market demand, competitors’ new products, or disruptive technologies launched in the industry) to keep the business afloat in uncertain times.