Workflow bottlenecks can negatively impact everything from employee satisfaction to the bottom line. Avoiding the snowball effect that comes with logjams means creating more efficient workflows that keep the organization moving in the right direction. These three strategies can help keep your operations on time and budget.
In any corporate workplace, efficiency is the key to maintaining the foundation of business. It’s what keeps things on schedule, helps your employees avoid overload, and lines you up to receive the ROI you expect and need.
It’s also crucial for customer relations, as logjams generally cause customers to get bounced from one company representative to the next. Bottlenecks are damaging for business, and shipment delays come with serious repercussions if left unattended. The more you get behind, the more you lose business and the more your supply chain suffers. This can have a snowball effect; before you know it, you’re really in the weeds.
But with proper preparation and a little bit of thoughtfulness, you can keep your operations on time, on budget, and on the up and up. Here’s how to do it:
- Build out a business process blueprint.
You know the saying, “failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” To avoid falling victim to that platitude, put a rock-solid business process blueprint into place. Sure, businesses are constantly evolving, but the most successful ones craft strong visions of what they want to become from the moment they open their doors.
Your blueprint doesn’t need to be overcomplicated, either. It just needs the following elements:
a) Foundation: Just like a house, your business needs a floor on which it is built. There needs to be rules and boundaries for employees to follow, as well as ethics and standards customers will expect you to adhere to.
b) Verification: Share the blueprint with your colleagues and listen in earnest to their feedback. A wealth of ideas can lead to a wealth of opportunities.
C) Benchmarks: Once you set business goals, be sure to create plans for how you will celebrate them. This goes a long way in employee satisfaction and, in turn, ROI.
d) Plan for the future: Once you hit your benchmarks, what are the next ones you want to set? Be malleable in your thinking, and listen to those with input. You gathered the team you have for a reason. Trust their judgment and take what they have to say to heart.
Think of your blueprint as an accountability partner holding all the keys your business needs to achieve growth. According to Mavim’s global content marketing manager, Caroline Broms, your blueprint can house everything that is mission-critical to growth.
“The beauty of a business process blueprint is that it can house workflows, terminologies, and other elements unique to your company,” Broms writes. “It helps develop more process-driven cultures, allowing your organization to improve function.”
- Perform frequent audits.
Often, the way to get efficiency back on track isn’t through new solutions — it’s through making sure the old ones still work properly. By auditing your workflows, you can find gaps where things might be coming to a halt.
Audits enable your business to apply solutions to any existing gaps in real time to move things along. Whether old solutions or new creative ones, this will help keep you and your employees nimble. Regular audits also shine a light on overlaps that could be causing bottlenecks and halting momentum.
Finally, use audits to monitor bandwidth and determine if you’re overworking your staff. Some people are still of the mindset that work should be all go all the time, but that’s a mantra that won’t bode well for your team’s long-term viability. Through audits, you can see what 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 workflow improvements.
- Embrace automation.
If you haven’t caught up to technology today, now would be a great time to do it. We live in a time in which businesses can simply automate tedious or redundant tasks so that they can spend time on more critical things. This is crucial to preventing jams, and more and more companies are using the help of automation and AI to do so.
Think about it: The amount of time spent on these simple tasks can be reduced to just seconds with the help of automation. It also means one (or several) fewer employees have to be pulled away from otherwise important tasks to do something dull.
This is great for you and your team. Employees will feel more involved when they aren’t tasked with doing things they dread, and you will get better work out of them.
When workflows fall off, the hill your company must climb to reach its goals gets that much steeper. But with thorough planning, auditing, and automating, you can put a system in place that grows along with your business.
Written by Rhett Power.
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