Business processes can inevitably become complicated as your Toronto-based small- or medium-sized business (SMB) expands and more people get involved in day-to-day operations. And when processes are overly complex, they can be difficult and costly to manage and even pose risks to the business. Improving processes to increase efficiency can be a great way for your SMB to boost profit margins, reduce operational costs, and create stability.
Improving processes to increase efficiency can be a great way for your SMB to boost profit margins, reduce operational costs, and create stability.
How to achieve process efficiency
A process is any series of actions and decisions your employees perform to produce a result. This includes everyday tasks like scheduling meetings or getting contracts signed. By contrast, a procedure is a course of action that follows a set of rules and is documented. While not all processes should be turned into procedures, it’s important to ensure that every business process is as efficient as it could be.
However, without the right strategy and knowledge, you can fall short of your goals. Doing the following can help ensure the success of your process efficiency initiatives:
Set a goal
Efficiency can have different benefits for various businesses. For some, it can mean reducing operational costs that hinder the company from allocating a bigger budget to necessary upgrades. For others, it can mean improving customer experience and, consequently, revenue. And yet for some SMBs, having efficient processes means reducing risks and making the business easier to manage.
A good question to ask when setting a goal is, “What benefit do I want out of making my processes more efficient?” The goals you set will affect your process improvement priorities, timelines, and conditions for success. Choose a goal that your SMB has a realistically high chance of achieving based on previous data and your team’s ability to execute.
Make sure your progress is measurable
Without metrics against which you can regularly measure your progress, you cannot empirically prove that you are hitting or missing your targets. If your goal is to improve customer experience by increasing process efficiency, then you should establish criteria that will enable you to monitor your progress. For instance, you can measure the correlation of the time it takes to resolve a particular concern and customer satisfaction.
Prioritize processes based on impact
Look into your processes and focus on those that have a disproportionate impact on your bottom line. You want to invest in processes that have potentially high returns for the company instead of those that drain resources for little returns. For instance, if your delivery service is using up too many resources, it pays to invest resources in improving it only if doing so means helping the business become more lucrative.
Get your employees involved
One of the reasons why process improvements fail is because planners don’t involve enough people. Your staff are the ones who implement company processes, so make sure to ask for their input regarding process improvements and leverage their diversity, knowledge, and experience. Also, make sure that they understand the goal. When your employees fully grasp why they need to change their habits or learn a new set of skills, they are more likely to adopt process changes.
Seek professional advice
Having an unbiased point of view can help uncover bottlenecks and other inefficiencies that internal decision-makers may miss because they’re too familiar with the processes. For example, if your SMB needs to streamline tech-related processes or has processes that can benefit from IT upgrades, XBASE Technologies’ professional IT strategic consulting can help. As experts in the field of IT, we can suggest process improvements that utilize IT in ways that remove unnecessary, redundant, or expensive steps.
Inefficient processes can cause delays, frustrate employees, turn customers away, and incur your business unnecessary costs. By analyzing your current processes and leveraging IT where possible, XBASE Technologies can help you streamline your processes so that you can successfully reach your goals. Call us at 647-697-7710, or drop us a line and we’ll get in touch with you.