Every business is guilty of wasting at least some time and money. Now making your business more efficient and cutting costs is perhaps more important than ever before. Every company needs to adapt and evolve, updating its processes and ways of working, using new technologies and ideas. While the spotting of inefficiencies is the most important task, the #1 Question to every business leader is: Do you look for these in the right place and do you target those that have the highest impact on your processes?
Workflow and operational processes are only as efficient as their weakest component. Identifying, targeting, and improving the most inefficient processes within a company can have numerous benefits.
Assessing the processes involved in day-to-day operations can turn up several components that may be less than efficient or in need of improvement; a few key concepts may be all that is required to improve efficiency across the board.
Here are the questions to ask yourself when considering moving your business from analog to digital.
1. Are our current processes relevant?
Manual, paper-based working is inefficient, expensive, takes a lot of time and it’s more likely to introduce mistakes. Just because a task was done that way 10 years ago (even though 1 year can in fact feel like 10 years with the pace of technological change that we are experiencing) doesn’t mean that it needs to be done in the same way today. Businesses should invest in technology that improves processes and makes them more efficient. For example, letting computers take control of workflow management can save time, increase efficiency and help businesses find new ways of working.
2. Why do we use the systems in place?
Just because your business invested a lot of money in a legacy system, it doesn’t mean that you should continue to invest in it. Companies can waste a tremendous amount of time and money supporting outdated systems. Moving to a new system that’s easier to support can cut costs and make your business ready for the future.
3. Is our data suitable for decision-making?
Not having access to the right data can make managers make poor decisions or take too long. Your data is your company’s lifeblood, so it needs to be analyzed, edited and presented quickly to top management so that the right decisions can be made sooner.
4. Do we outsource all that we need to?
Every company likes to think that it’s good at everything, and there’s a natural desire to keep everything in-house. This is not a good way of working, and a failure to outsource can cost your business in time, money and expertise. With the right partners, you can outsource parts of your business to experts in that area, reducing cost and making your business work faster.
5. Is Automation in place for all the processes requiring it?
Ad-hoc processes plague businesses, with informal ways of working causing problems. For example, if holiday requests are handled by an email being sent to someone, who manually checks a calendar before sending information back, your business is wasting time and money. Look at all your ad-hoc processes and find a better way of working, automating as many of them as you can.
6. How result oriented are our meetings?
For many of us the ‘never ending meetings’ just migrated to the digital space over the last several months. Although Zoom meetings seemed like a good idea at the start, our teams can grow inundated with them and stop receiving value. Too many times poor planning and an inability to set agendas can make these Zooms a waste of time. Being intentional, preparing purposefully and working towards tangible goals, be it with Zoom meetings or without, is the goal.
What can I as a leader of the team do to help the company grow faster?
After you have found the weak spots and started working to improve, you can always contribute as an individual.
Simplify and Eliminate
Processes that divide the attention and focus of a worker are rarely efficient. Simplifying tasks by eliminating unnecessary or unrelated components can ensure that workers are more effective, focused, and able to optimize their productivity.
Avoid Stress and Overwork
At the very least, anyone can suffer from a lack of motivation and decreased productivity, according to Stress.org. Employees who suffer from chronic stress and long periods of overwork are more prone to make mistakes or have accidents. Ensuring that your teams are fresh and ready to handle market challenges makes a real difference. Scheduling more frequent breaks and hiring contractors to spread the workload can help too. We all know how difficult it may be nowadays to ensure everyone is provided with the environment that is as comfortable as possible – but time and time again the positive impact of the human connection is able to bring you better results.