Maximise productivity and efficiency by ironing unnecessary steps out of your business procedures. – Many entrepreneurs and business owners look for ways to streamline their business workflows and processes. This way, entrepreneurs like Dave Antrobus can simplify procedures to step up productivity and keep their businesses running smoothly.
Though there are several ways to streamline your business workflows and processes – some involving modern approaches and others involving technologies – these methods usually come down to removing complicated or unnecessary steps from your work procedures. So, with the right know-how, streamlining your business doesn’t have to be difficult.
Here, Dave Antrobus, the chief technology officer of business group Inc & Co and capital investment agency Fresh Thinking Group, explains how you can improve efficiency with six ways to streamline your business workflows and processes.
The Difference Between Workflows And Processes
Dave Antrobus explains that although processes and workflows are similar, they aren’t the same. While a process is a set of activities that you need to repeat on an ongoing basis to reach a goal, a workflow is a series of activities that you need to repeat on an ongoing basis to complete a task. Every business has processes and workflows that are specific to its field.
Streamlining Workflows And Processes To Improve Productivity
Streamlining your workflows and business processes shouldn’t be difficult, but it’s important not to rush while making these changes. It’s better to streamline processes on an individual basis, making one change at a time. When you streamline in small steps, you’re more likely to implement changes that stick.
The first thing to do is identify which workflows and processes you want to streamline. Here are Dave Antrobus’ six tips to get you started.
1. Assess The Bigger Picture
Take a step back and consider your workflows and processes from a big-picture view. When you get an overall idea of the way your processes integrate, it should be easier to identify which areas you should streamline first. Start by writing a list of all your workflows and processes, their benefits, and the people involved in each.
2. Make A Priority Order
Put your workflows and processes in priority order. Once your workflows and processes are in order, you should know which ones to work on first. You might surprise yourself at how few really help you complete goals or tasks. Any workflows or processes that don’t help you achieve goals or tasks may not be as important as you previously thought. These could be areas to make bigger cuts.
3. Consider The Outcomes Of Workflows And Processes
Once you’ve got your workflows and processes in order, it’s time to examine the outcomes of these procedures. This is where you should be able to highlight any workflows or processes that are costly, difficult to maintain, or unnecessary. Think about the results that each workflow and process generate. If any procedures lack results, you’ve found an area to streamline. For example, you might find that one of your business processes leads to a high volume of printing and paper shredding. In this case, you could calculate the cost of printing and paper compared to the cost of alternative software for the process.
4. Get Your Team Involved
It’s possible that you might have a blind spot when trying to work out which workflows and business processes to streamline. Cover all your bases by asking your co-workers, colleagues, and employees for their thoughts on workflow chains and processes. They might have lots of ideas about how to save time and improve efficiency. It’s often the small details that are key to making important changes. And it’s easy to miss these small details unless you seek feedback from others. You could hold a meeting to discuss areas for improvement or ask your team to complete an anonymous survey, something Inc & Co do regularly.
5. Embrace Technologies
As technology continues to evolve, there are many emerging business process management software solutions available to help you streamline workflows and processes. Each has different features and capabilities to suit different sectors and organization types. That said, most share similar features that make it easy to collect data in a central location, automate steps in business workflows, and improve data visibility with graphs, charts, and reports. Even if introducing a technology comes at a cost, the right software could save money in the long run.
6. Refine Your Workflows And Processes Over Time
You’re unlikely to streamline each business workflow and process fully with the first change you make. Therefore, it’s important to analyze your progress continuously and tweak your streamlining efforts whenever you identify room for further progress. It’s also essential to train employees on new workflows and processes. It might take your team some time to get used to these changes, so refining processes gradually can be beneficial for them.
Why It’s Important To Streamline Workflows And Processes
Aside from freeing up your time to improve productivity, streamlining your workflows and processes can help you cut costs and better distribute workloads. For example, investing in a business process management software solution that performs rapid data entry can allow your staff to dedicate their time to other tasks.
Meanwhile, streamlining workflows and processes should help your employees improve their time management. They’ll have a more accurate idea of how long tasks will take, more time to complete these tasks, and be in a better position to focus on the quality of their work. On top of this, streamlining processes is great for improved communication. Fewer steps in each process mean fewer opportunities for miscommunication.
Plus, you’ll be able to cultivate a higher level of transparency in the workplace – it’s easier to monitor progress when there are fewer steps to follow. This can be especially helpful when fulfilling business obligations like regulation compliance.
About Dave Antrobus
Having developed and deployed a multitude of high-level software solutions over his extensive career, Dave Antrobus now heads several technical teams as the CTO of the Manchester-founded groups Inc & Co and Fresh Thinking. His consultancy-driven approach, paired with his expertise and experience as a business mentor, makes him an ideal leader for these developer teams, which he helps brainstorm and develop advanced software for businesses in a range of sectors.
Dave Antrobus adopts Scrum and Agile methodologies to help these teams deliver the best possible client outcomes. In particular, Scrum’s heuristic approach helps Dave Antrobus’ teams streamline operations, manage development queues, uphold efficiency, and communicate effectively.
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