What is business process improvement?

By January 28, 2016 September 14th, 2018 Business Planning & Strategy, Performance

BUSINESS PROCESS IMPROVEMENT

A simple way of looking at any business is to break it down into the various processes the staff undertake. You’ll have processes around product development, sales and marketing, accounting and finance, human resources, reporting, etc. Business process improvement is the act of articulating, analysing, and improving upon the processes of a business with the goal of realising the true potential of the business.

What’s involved? First is a chat with the owners to get a clear understanding of what the business does and why. A review of the company mission, values, brand promise, etc. is definitely helpful.

Next up, speak with all team members to get an idea of what everyone does during their hours at work. Whilst speaking with department heads is a good start, it’s always wise to talk to people lower down the ladder to ensure that the process is understood in the same way by all involved. The result of these conversations should be a complete list of the tasks undertaken by the business with the following detail as an example:

  • Department
  • Process name
  • Goal of process
  • Steps involved
  • Time taken
  • Staff responsible

Then it’s a matter of comparing what has been found in your business with industry best practice and a bit of common sense so you can see where the opportunity for improvement lies. There are often many ways to complete a task, but they won’t all be efficient and effective. This is really the part where it pays to involve someone who has experience working with many different businesses so you can get some real-world advice on what is going to be best for your business. Not only this, but engaging an external consultant will help ensure what is started gets finished and not left in the “to do” pile for tomorrow.

Some of the common problems that are uncovered as a result of this process include:

  • Lack of guidance and instruction
  • Inconsistent approach to the same problem
  • Excess time being spent on a task
  • Double handling
  • Inefficient use of available tools including technology
  • Poor reporting lines

All of these problems represent opportunity for improvement if the business is willing to spend the time and money to ensure it is operating in the smartest (not hardest!) way possible. Once the improvements have been implemented there are many potential benefits including:

  • Improved staff morale
  • Increased productivity
  • Boost to profits and cash flow
  • Lower staff turnover
  • Higher business value in case of sale

If you think your business could benefit from an experienced business consultant reviewing the processes in your business and helping you to implement some suggested improvements, please let us know. We’ve helped many of our clients improve their businesses and we’d love to discuss how we can help yours.

If you’ve got issues in your business you don’t seem to be able to get on top of, why not get in touch? Not only do we provide a full suite of bookkeeping and tax services here at Generate, but we’re also able to help with business coaching, strategy workshops, business plans and much more. You name the problem and I’m sure we can help.