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Time to Streamline Your Processes

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All organizations, no matter whether a B2B tech company, a non-profit or a law firm, have processes that can be improved.  All organizations should be in a constant improvement mode to stay competitive.

All organizations should have someone whose sole job is to assist with improving processes to save money, save time and increase satisfaction (employee, customer, partner, etc.).  Intra-department processes are the most difficult to improve.  You need a person that has no vested interest in the actual process who can manage the improvement project.

If you want your organization to scale then you need to establish clear processes but also optimize these processes.  Process improvement involves evaluating the current processes your organization has in place and then identifying opportunities to improve performance outcomes.  Every process should have a reason for why it exists and a benefit to the organization.  A process improvement project needs a sponsor at the executive level so that the project gets the appropriate priority and effort.  Decision makers are finding that process improvement projects provides the organization with a competitive edge. Suggestion, don’t do too many process improvement projects at once.  There is only so much change that an organization can handle at one time and there is only so much management capability at one time to manage the projects.

When changed, processes affects how staff interacts with information and with others.  You need to synchronize processes with customer needs and help executives with their planning, monitoring, measurement and deployment of resources.  When process improvement projects succeed they should enhance productivity, decrease costs and keeps errors to a minimum.

Ready to streamline existing processes?  Then do the following:

  1. Start with what you have – If processes are in someone’s head then get them written down.  Make sure process documentation are stored where everyone knows where they are.  And it would be helpful if all process documentation was in the same format.  Review the existing process document and determine if it needs updating.  Create the process culture in the organization with what you currently have and know about. Check out my “Share the Knowledge – Document Your Processes” blog post.
  2. Look for new improvements – They are probably everywhere.  Look for the stacks of paper.  Or the loads of data entry.  Make a list.  Gather a team to review the list and determine the effort level, budget requirements and department affected.
  3. Focus on improving the processes that help with your organization’s goals – If no goals exist then create those first.  Prioritize the process improvements by reviewing your organization’s goals. Look at available resources.  Look at what else is going on in the organization.  Don’t do process improvement projects in the middle of an office move or during an important product launch.
  4. Look for integrations that can be put into place – These integrations will save time and reduce errors.  Examples of integrations include integrations between CRM (like SalesForce) & marketing automation (like HubSpot) systems and expense system to finance system integration.  Working on integrations usually involves multiple processes and often you find out that these processes need to be updated before an integration can occur.
  5. Ongoing improvements and up keep – All processes can be improved and when they are improved make sure that the documentation is updated as well.  Organizations change and all processes should be periodically reviewed (at least once a year).  Processes should be part of new employee onboarding process (yes, another process).

Process improvement enhances flexibility, versatility and adaption within organizations of all sizes.  Now’s the time to improve and streamline your processes.

Let me know what you think and provide me examples of your process improvement successes.

Photo credit: StockSnap.io (90)

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