Increasing efficiencies in administrative areas – like business planning, information management and office workflow – is easy on your budget and doesn’t increase workload on staff.
Here is the 5-step countdown to help you focus change in areas that could benefit from a “quick-fix” before the ball drops:
5…Define the problem
Chances are there is a process in your business that is causing stress – Accounts Payable invoice processing, HR paperwork, contract management, data integration…you get the idea.
Regardless of your business, there are a number of potential areas to focus on for business process improvement.
Which issue is causing you and your staff the biggest headaches? Write them down, and then pick one that the most manageable to work on first. Assign a few staff to help problem solve – from the day to day tasks involved to brainstorming the overall solution.
4…Evaluate the bottleneck
Inefficient processes lead to unhappy customers and frustrated vendors.
Where are the biggest delays – is it from product procurement to payment? On-boarding new employees? Managing documents between geographically diverse locations?
Identify the bottleneck, define the reasons, then figure out how to navigate around it.
3… Utilize internal resources
“We have always done it that way.” So goes the mantra of many small to medium sized businesses.
And this can be a detriment to your growth – unless you involve key staff in changing the old ways. Your current team may be your best resource for change management – if you engage them successfully.
According to Forrester Research, “Organizations fail to realize the impact of change on the employees it will affect and do not plan and execute carefully enough to address the people issues through all phases of business process change management…change only happens when workers change their thinking, beliefs, and behaviors.”
Talking with everyone involved in the process you want to change – from the front lines to the executive suite is critical. Getting buy-in can help accelerate your project, get you to the finish line quicker and help you achieve the results you want.
2…Rethink business processes
Reworking internal processes that may be inefficient or ineffective is the best place to start.
Are there ways you can centralize your business data – helping to improve timelines and eliminate redundancy? Are there large bottlenecks in invoice processing that are holding up payments?
Do you have software that you could be using more efficiently? Perhaps you’ve started with a software product for your HR or AP processing and need a refresher. Maybe you have 5 offices spread across the country and are having a difficult time getting the data you need to everyone.
There are a number of cloud-based software systems for small to medium businesses that offer turnkey solutions that can immediate address your business concerns – and getting started is easier today than ever before.
Work with your team to pick 1 or 2 areas in which you can immediately improve and see results.
62% of executives say cloud is increasing productivity.
~Harvard Business Review
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review cites examples of companies that tried to innovate and failed. “When you … implement a new process, you really don’t know what the consequences are going to be, and if the consequences are negative, an innovation with built-in flexibility stands a better chance of surviving than one that’s inherently rigid. Innovation flexibility is basically a measure of two things: how many configurations a product or process can take on after it’s introduced, and how quickly it can be transfigured from one form to another.”
Don’t implement a process that could end up causing as much stress as the issue you tried to solve in the first place. Since you are starting small, your innovation in one area can lead to changes in other areas. For example, you could roll out a software program you’ve been using in accounting to Human Resources.
Doing things the “old way” can hold you back – and cost you a great deal in wasted human and financial resources.
With so many cloud-based technologies and business process improvement (BPI) systems on the market today, the time to fix your old processes and be ready for 2015 is now.
“Make use of time, let not advantage slip.” William Shakespeare
5…4…3…2…1 HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Get started now – watch the DocStar ECM AP Automation 4 Minute Tour and see how you can start working smarter in 2015.