Developing companies: Whether you are starting a new business, or working to improve your current productivity, having a good business process is an important step to achieving your goals. Creating a business process can increase efficiency, quality and accountability in your work.
1. Review the challenges facing your current business productivity and success. List the items you think need to be addressed and describe the problems. This will help you define the source of the problems within your business.
- Consider whether something can be completed more efficiently, cheaply or with higher quality.
- Look for key performance indicators to identify what is functioning well in terms of performance and what needs work toward improvement.
- Ask yourself why it is a problem. If it is the result of another problem, keep tracing it back to it’s source.
2. Start at the end. Identify the goals you would like to achieve with your business process. Focus on increasing the quality, efficiency or cost of your product or service. These should be more a more general vision of your hopes for the future of your company.
- Consider the future of your company and where you would like to be in the next 1 year and 5 years.
- Your goal should fit with the vision and mission statement of your company.
- Goals should be realistically attainable.
- Avoid setting too many goals.
3. Create specific objectives based off of the goals you determined. These should be more specific, time sensitive, and measurable than your goals.
- Set a measurable time frame to achieve the objective.
- Make sure the expectations are reasonable.
- Be sure you have the employees available to complete your objectives within the time frame you have set.
4. List the activities required to achieve your objective. When deciding on the activities, it is useful to consider cause and effect of each activity, how they relate to each other and how they move you closer to your desired objective. Identify the starting point of the process and fill in the activities leading to the objective.
- These actions should be interdependent and rely upon each other to achieve the objective.
- Activities can be sequential or parallel, meaning either one activity can not occur until the other is completed, or two activities can occur at the same time within the process
5. Maximize the efficiency of the business process. Review your list of activities to determine which steps are unnecessary. Delete all unnecessary activities from your list if they are not specific to this particular objective.
- It is important to streamline the process and avoid having so many steps that it is overwhelming or confusing to the employees.
- If the omitted activity is important to your overall business, consider which goal best benefits from this activity and save it to be part of a separate business process.
6. Determine the order of the necessary activities. It is helpful to create a flow chart of the entire process, listing each activity in order and linking it to the next part of the process.
- Start with the premiere event leading to your goal. Draw a circle around this activity.
- Draw a line to a box and fill that box with the first activity required to work from this premiere event to your goal.
- When you reach a moment which requires a decision, draw a diamond around the question which must be posed. Two lines should proceed from this diamond leading to the activity driven by this decision.
- Link each activity sequentially. Some may run simultaneously through different departments within your business.
- Culminate in the activity which reaches your goal, and draw a circle around this conclusion.
7. Optimize your business process. Look at your completed flow chart with a critical eye to see if there are still any remaining activities which could be cut from the process to increase efficiency, quality, or decrease cost. Can the order be rearranged or can the individual processes be improved to accomplish your objective in a better way?
- Consider whether any part of your process can be automated.
- Step back and get an outside eye by sharing the process with your management team.
- Look at your process from the point of view of the customer and consider ways you could improve their experience and overall satisfaction.
8. Assign management to supervise each step of the process. This will provide transparent accountability for each step within the process.
- Share the flowchart with your employees to clearly communicate the expectations for achieving your objective.
- Give management ownership by involving them in the process of creating the business process.
- Allow time and support for management to achieve the objectives assigned to them.
Try using a digital platform to help you manage workflow, like Asana or Zenda. Notes and Google Calendar can also work if you’re looking for something simple.