The best businesses continually work to improve their operational processes. It’s how they compete with the over 31 million other companies in the U.S. You may be looking to tweak your ongoing performance. If so, here are five ways to improve your business processes.
1. Focus On The Core Processes
There are five core processes for every business, no matter the size. Focus on these when you consider improvements. Adjustments in each one provide overall change to the entire company. The core processes are:
- Project Management
- Human Resource Management
- Accounting and Finances
- Marketing and Sales
- Business Development
In many cases, changes to one process require adjustment to another. For instance, further business expansion precipitates updates to human resources, finance, and sales.
2. Incorporate Enhanced Security Measures
A stranglehold is placed on business processes when you lack the proper security measures. Cyberattacks strip your company of personally identifiable information (PII), and ransomware holds your systems hostage. Although enhanced security measures can’t eliminate these threats, they can minimize their risk.
A simple solution is to apply multi-factor authentication (MFA) for system access. The process adds a second layer of approval as a numerical code is sent to a worker’s smart device.
Another option is to implement blockchain technology. Originally used for cryptocurrency, it’s now utilized in different business sectors. The advantage of blockchain is it’s a zero-trust system. In other words, your employees must always verify their identity to access the data.
Education is also required when you incorporate enhanced security measures. Your employees can’t protect your company’s assets if they don’t know how or why it’s necessary. Continual training solidifies this knowledge in their minds.
3. Perform A Process Audit
A process audit is a focused inspection of your systems and operations. You examine specific routines and specifications used in the business. Sometimes this is for designated business areas. A process audit covers the whole organization if it’s a small company.
The examination’s results give you opportunities to enhance the company’s operations. For instance, you might discover your shipping packages are coming apart during delivery or there are items that continually break at your business and need to be patched together immediately. If this is the case, you switch to the strongest double sided tape possible to minimize your losses.
4. Continually Educate Your Employees
Process improvements tend to fail when your staff is uneducated. If they don’t understand your intentions, they won’t properly implement them. Not only does this cause delays but creates employee dissatisfaction. Prevent this with continual education.
Your plans must be revealed to the staff well ahead of time so they can ask questions and suggest changes. Equally important is a schedule of training sessions to prepare your team for the improvements. In the end, engaged workers help to make the improved processes work.
5. Automate Data Management
An additional reason businesses don’t move to the next level is how they handle data. They rely on independent tools like spreadsheets to send data to others. As a result, data is misinterpreted or lost. Improve this process by automating your data management.
Applications for different operations are available in off-the-shelf and customizable versions. The latter is better to use as it allows you to create a data management system that fits your needs.
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software is one example of automated data management. Sales and inventory-related management are input from the first interaction through product retrieval, packaging, shipping, and billing. Everyone involved in these steps has access to the same data in ERP. When there’s an issue, all departments are alerted to make the necessary adjustments.
Similar data management applications exist for different departments. A customer relationship management (CRM) tool supports your salespeople and customer service department from the cold call to the contract signing. Warehouse management systems (WMS) are used by production and inventory teams to verify available items.
The five items mentioned above are a small group of what can be done to improve your business processes. The way to implement them isn’t all at once because it overwhelms you and your employees, thus resulting in ongoing failures.
Instead, start with the process audit to review what procedures need to be changed. From there, work on the most important factors to create a business with a top-line system and employee operations.
Also, read: 5 Ways Increased Productivity Leads to Business Growth
Author: Raynne Morriss
Rayanne Morriss is currently working towards her BA from Oregon State University. She loves to write, read, travel, and paint. She enjoys finding new coffee shops with friends and expanding her cooking skills with her husband.