We are currently analyzing our client’s workflow and processes. Now more often than not, this can be very tedious work. The whole purpose of undertaking this task is to assess the present condition of their business operations in regards to efficiency, customer centricity and employee productivity.
While the task may seem daunting, the return on the time investment is well worth the effort. Let’s look at three benefits of analyzing processes.
1. Fresh insights
An important step in process analysis projects is to interview the people who actually perform the work. I like to spend time with a client’s employees as they perform their duties and document step-by-step tasks. The amount of insight gained from this approach usually proves very enlightening to senior leadership.
Oftentimes, employees develop their own set of work steps to complete tasks. When they deem the process too cumbersome or inefficient, employees will create work arounds in order to get the work done in a timely manner – especially when pay is tied to performance. After completing this task, opportunities to remove delays or inefficiencies and introduce improvements become apparent.
Most processes are cross functional–meaning they can start in one department and travel across others within your company. Cross functional business processes are various areas of your company working to complete the same piece of work.
For example, a salesperson may submit the order. It is then processed in an accounting app to generate an invoice. Meanwhile, an electronic notice is sent to manufacturing and production to assemble the product and ship to the customer. The goal is for all functional areas to improve efficiency and work together to fulfill orders.
When you analyze processes it requires participation from everyone that performs a task within it. I like to get all of the participants in one room and review each step within the process to insure everyone is onboard.
Discussions arise on the proper way to complete steps within the process. Then we start to consider process improvement ideas. Employees can communicate face-to-face to build a process that fits the needs of all departments, stakeholders, and customers. Once done, everyone feels as though they have a stake in the success of the process.
3. Enhanced training
When your employees have proficiency in assigned tasks it helps to build confidence. Training is one way to build proficiency. As you analyze and document work processes, it’s easier to create training tools.
Once documented processes are used to develop standard operating procedures (SOP) and policies. Both new and tenured employees then have a reference point to ensure they are performing their duties correctly. An electronic employee manual that includes “How to” documents and videos are additional training products that can be produced from these sessions.
When you take the time to develop and document efficient, employee and customer friendly processes your entire business will certainly run smoother. As a result your employees will be happier and your customers will certainly receive great service.
Errol Allen is the founder and CEO of Errol Allen Consulting, a Houston, TX based firm specializing in operations improvement and customer service training. His passion is to create long-term value by assisting his clients in developing both customer and employee friendly processes. Connect with @consult53 on Twitter.