Let’s face it - no one likes red tape. This doesn’t mean that successful organisations don’t need good systems in place. Because they do. But if there’s one thing that can kill staff morale and strangle innovation and productivity, it’s too many poorly thought out processes.
Processes should exist to provide people with frameworks they can follow to make their work faster or more efficient. But if those processes are out of date or unnecessarily complex or cumbersome, then you’re doing your teams and by extension the entire organisation a major disservice.
But it’s one thing to say, “hey you need to sort out your processes or it's going to stifle your company’s growth” and another to actually do something about ensuring your processes are optimised and aligned with your company goals. So, what are the issues and areas that you should actually be looking at to get your processes back on track?
Automating systems is great. It improves overall productivity and frees up your staff to focus on higher value tasks. But one of the risks of increased automation is that for it to be successful, it does require that more processes are integrated.
Using the example of an e-commerce enterprise, it will likely require integrating processes across inventory management, CRM, and order tracking, that were previously separated. This means your staff must be well aware of how all these systems should function in order to provide a good customer experience. If you haven’t developed a standardised and comprehensive system that logically spans each of these areas, then staff are forced to rely on a large stream of information coming from different areas that can easily lead to confusion, mistakes, and unhappy staff and customers.
You don’t ever want to have to do something twice. It's the ultimate failure of a system whenever work is duplicated and ends up being done by two different people. Or if the processes or people’s understanding of the task is so poor that a task needs to be done a second time in order to be done correctly. Bloated processes can mean there’s a lack of visibility over who is doing what, duplicated efforts, wasted time, and a whole lot of frustration.
Without access to the right data to generate insights, business leaders are less likely to make the right decisions at the right time. But even in cases where the data is accessible, without processes in place to facilitate real time reporting, these insights can be poorly reported or received too late to be used effectively.
By applying a serious focus on internal processes, organisations can reap the benefits of genuine, long-term process improvements. These will allow the company to be more efficient, make cost and time savings, and scale more effectively.
The reason process improvements can make such a big impact in the long term on your bottom line is they affect your business’s core functions and major expenses. For example, if you make just a single digit efficiency gain in one of your core capabilities, then compound that over the lifetime of the business, you can see what a major impact that will have on generating value and driving growth.
There are many different ways that companies can get an edge on the competition. Integrating the latest tech or hiring the best talent are often headline ways to achieve it, but internal processes are overlooked as an important element that you need to get right. Too many people incorrectly view internal processes as just being a necessary but annoying overhead. This attitude is especially true for small to medium businesses that face capital and staffing constraints.
To resolve your process challenges, you need to be prepared to take a holistic look at how your human and financial capital is allocated. Luckily, this isn’t something you need to do from scratch. There are many excellent business applications available that allow you to take advantage of the best process structures that have been successfully applied across a variety of industries.
The well established vendors in the ERP space can provide you with a platform and systems that will serve you well for the lifetime of your business. Vendor selection is important to ensure the right product and vendor is matched to the characteristics of your business. With the right choice, you will see continuous improvement meaning your processes and systems are always moving forward and being refined to ensure they stay best in class. For more information on the best ERP vendors to suit your business, talk to the experts at FinXL.