Improve business processes in 4 steps

A continuously critical look at how your business processes can be improved, is very beneficial for your organization. With more efficient and better organized processes you achieve more success. But how do you take care of this? Follow these 4 steps towards improvement:

1.   IDENTIFY potential optimizations

The first step is of course to see where improvement is possible. Make sure that you have carefully documented your most important business processes in process flows, allowing you to see which department is responsible for which step in the process. Get together with everyone involved and discuss the process steps. Where can you speed things up? Which step is unnecessary? How could software potentially help you?

2.   OPTIMIZE the process and test it carefully

As soon as you know where improvement is possible, you can adjust the process. Eliminate the step you don’t need to take, move responsibilities over to another department or change the work that needs to be carried out. Don’t just discuss this, but also literally change the process flow. When you make a major change, be sure to test it carefully. If you, for example, make things easier and faster by implementing a software system, then it is wise to test the system first on a small scale before you roll it out in the organization.

3.   IMPLEMENT the process optimization

If testing proves that the process optimization indeed brings benefit, then it is time to implement the optimization. You document the change, communicate it and train your staff if necessary. If you simply skip a step in the process, there will be little resistance from employees, but when you set up a process completely different, that can cause a lot of resistance. Therefore, inform everybody about the process optimization and explain why it is being implemented. The support and commitment of your people is very important.

4.   EVALUATE the results based on ROI

The final step is sometimes forgotten; the evaluation. In theory and during testing, a process optimization can seem great, but it is only in practice that you discover whether this is actually the case. Always evaluate in terms of Return On Investment (ROI). So, calculate the costs of the process optimization (for example an investment in software, equipment or training of employees) and compare this with the revenues (for example, time and costs savings or a higher turnover or profit).

Philip van Kemenade is marketing manager at Dysel and is in contact with software end users every day.