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Have you ever thought about the number of processes that you follow during the average working day? There will be dozens. You are a creature of habit, and whether the processes are defined in formal business guidelines or whether you do them out of routine, you do them. You follow the same steps to carry out your routine tasks – to generate reports, contact new clients, create a spreadsheet, and the list goes on.

Businesses typically get comfortable with their processes. If it works, why fix it?

However, this can mean that inefficiency can creep in, especially when the processes are no longer the best fit for the business as it has evolved.

Symptoms of inefficiency

  • An increase in errors.
  • A bad service which leads to an increase in unhappy clients or customers. Due to the quality of the work that you produce.
  • Bottlenecks in workflow which cause deadlines to be missed.
  • Duplicated work or work is not completed.
  • Stressed employees.
  • An increase in wasted resources.
  • A rise in outgoing costs.

If you become aware of any of these symptoms, it is time to review the processes and procedures of your business. You need to explore and investigate each process to understand where improvements can be made. It is no good identifying the symptoms and not tackling the root cause.

For each process, ask the following questions:

  1. Where in the process do employees or clients begin to feel frustrated?
  2. Which step is causing the bottleneck or causes the most delays?
  3. At what step is quality compromised?

When the problems and issues have been articulated and identified, you will be able to seek a solution.

Common Solutions:

  • Improved software

It could be that the software that you use is not providing the level of usability that is required. By not providing employees with the most effective tools that they need to carry out their roles, you are limiting their ability to complete them efficiently and productively. Technological innovations happen swiftly in the digital world, and so what you may be using now may not be the best on the market. For example, a cheap professional PCB design software improves quality and streamlines workflow, moving your IT to the cloud improves interdepartmental collaboration and removes the risk of duplication.

  • Communicate goals and objectives

Failing to adequately communicate with employees is detrimental to your business’s efficiency. It damages the business culture and breeds complacency. A business without clear goals and defined objectives is one without direction. If employees understand the reasons why they are completing tasks, they are motivated to helping you achieve the goals.

Humans are creatures of habit, but just because things have always been done a certain way does not necessarily mean that it is best practice. If your business is not working efficiently, you need to invest time to review the procedures and processes that are used within it. The good news is that by encouraging employees to help you identify the solutions, the new processes will be accepted and put into action with minimized resistance to the change.