Workflow bottlenecks can negatively impact everything from employee satisfaction to the bottom line. Avoiding the snowball effect that accompanies traffic jams means creating more efficient workflows that keep the organization moving in the right direction. These three strategies can help you keep your operations on time and on budget.
In any corporate workplace, efficiency is key to maintaining the fundamentals of business. It’s what keeps things on schedule, helps your employees avoid overload, and allows you to receive the return on investment you expect and need.
It’s also crucial for customer relations, as traffic jams usually result in customers being diverted from one company representative to another. Bottlenecks are detrimental to business and shipping delays have serious repercussions if not addressed. The more you fall behind, the more business you lose and the more your supply chain suffers. It may have a snowball effect; before you know it, you’re really in the weeds.
But with the right preparation and a little thought, you can keep your operations on time, on budget, and on the rise. Here’s how:
- Develop a business process plan.
You know the saying, “to fail to prepare is to prepare to fail”. To avoid falling victim to this platitude, have a rock-solid business process plan in place. Sure, businesses are constantly changing, but the most successful ones develop a strong vision of what they want to become from the moment they open their doors.
Your plan doesn’t need to be overly complicated either. It just needs the following:
a) Foundation: Just like a house, your business needs a floor on which it is built. There must be rules and boundaries that employees must follow, as well as ethics and standards that customers expect you to uphold.
b) Verification: share the plan with your colleagues and listen carefully to their comments. A wealth of ideas can lead to a wealth of opportunities.
C) Milestones: Once you’ve set business goals, be sure to create plans for how you’ll celebrate them. This greatly contributes to employee satisfaction and, therefore, return on investment.
d) Plan for the future: once you have reached your milestones, what are the next ones you want to set? Be malleable in your thinking and listen to those who have a say. You have assembled the team you have for a reason. Trust their judgment and take what they have to say to heart.
Think of your plan as a responsible partner holding all the keys your business needs to achieve growth. According to Mavim’s Global Head of Content Marketing, Caroline Broms, your plan can house everything essential for growth.
“The beauty of a business process model is that it can house workflows, terminologies, and other things unique to your business,” Broms writes. “It helps to develop more process-oriented cultures, allowing your organization to run better.”
- Conduct frequent audits.
Often the way to get efficiency back on track isn’t through new solutions, but by making sure the old ones are still working properly. By auditing your workflows, you can find gaps where things might break down.
Audits allow your business to apply solutions to any existing gaps in real time to get things done. Whether it’s old solutions or creative new solutions, it will help you and your employees stay agile. Regular audits also highlight overlaps that could cause bottlenecks and slow momentum.
Finally, use audits to monitor bandwidth and determine if you’re overloading your staff. Some people still believe that work should get done all the time, but that’s a mantra that doesn’t bode well for the long-term viability of your team. With audits, you can see which tasks you can simplify and where you can afford to give your staff a break. They’ll thank you for it, and you’ll notice improvements in workflow.
- Embrace automation.
If you haven’t caught up with technology today, now would be a great time to do so. We live in an age where companies can simply automate tedious or redundant tasks so they can spend time on more critical tasks. This is crucial to avoiding jams, and more and more companies are using the help of automation and AI to do so.
Think about it: the time spent on these simple tasks can be reduced to seconds through automation. It also means that one (or more) fewer employees have to be removed from otherwise important tasks to do something boring.
It’s great for you and your team. Employees will feel more engaged when they’re not tasked with doing things they dread, and you’ll get better work out of them.
When workflows drop, the slope your business must climb to achieve its goals becomes even steeper. But with thorough planning, auditing, and automation, you can build a system that grows with your business.
Written by Rhett Power.
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