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Business processes are the system that allows companies to complete tasks, coordinate workflow, communicate effectively, and meet customer demands.
Here are 5 pieces of information about the business process that companies need to know now.
1. Every Business Relies On Processes
Think about the steps necessary to complete an order. Or to talk to a customer. Invoicing, support tickets, inventory regulation, product distribution… all of these things fall within a ‘process.’
Each task follows a set of steps, often overseen by an employee or manager. If there is an issue — customers are not receiving invoices, products are arriving deformed, employees can’t log into their accounts — the process is halted. Business might be forced to go offline, unable to function until the issues are corrected.
It’s a process because it’s continuous. A task starts and ends; it may be successfully completed or not. But processes continue day-in and out. They’re often repeatable.
Some see this as task management or workflow. But processes run in every department, often intersecting. And they must be evaluated to ensure the processes are meeting objectives in efficient ways.
2. Processes Require Evaluation
Processes should be evaluated often. Evaluation is necessary to make informed suggestions to optimize a process. If a process stops working but no one notices, how much money does the company lose? No one wants to find out.
Consider a manager who writes everything down in a notebook. He writes annual reports of his employees in it. He writes daily tasks and hands them out to team members to complete. This is his process to give orders and report information.
But it’s faulty.
Team members fight over the notebook. The manager’s writing isn’t always legible. At least once a week the notebook goes missing because the manager takes it home by accident. He makes changes often so it’s difficult to keep track of who has completed which task. Overall, communication is stale and productivity is stifled.
Evaluation of processes helps to see where issues lie. The next step is to fix them.
3. Optimization is Critical to Business Success
Let’s go back to our Notebook writing manager.
We know it’s faulty and employees aren’t happy.
If someone were to evaluate this process they’d see the error. Notebooks can be lost. They can be torn. Or destroyed by water.
Handwritten reports can be difficult to decipher. Pages can be scattered and put in the wrong order. And keeping documentation in an average notebook can leave companies open to noncompliance.
This process can be optimized.
A database can be created where the manager is the administrator. It allows employees to log in and see the details of tasks. The information can be secured and if the system goes down, it can be recovered by technicians. No one has to leave their station to track down a notebook — they can simply log in and see daily activity, make notes and comment where applicable.
Without evaluation, opportunities to streamline productivity and workflow fly by.
4. You can hire teams for integration and training
Updating and optimizing processes isn’t necessarily a simple task. The benefits are:
- Streamlined productivity
- Work efficiency increase
- And the ability to make smarter business decisions
The benefits are great. But not necessarily easy to achieve.
In many instances, the adoption of new technology is necessary. Notebook Manager would need to learn how to use a technical, online database. It would require spending hours learning how to add tasks, reports, and connect updates to his email. All of which may be foreign concepts.
So, firms hire offshore IT teams to handle this. Which can be good. It’s expensive, but when teams don’t have the time to learn technical languages or troubleshoot issues, this is the solution.
However, relying on an outside team to come in each time something changes is… well, troublesome. Your team is left to the mercy of an outside resource they can’t control.
Nowadays, stakeholders are turning to consultants who train team members in business process management. It requires time to learn and integrate technology. But when teams understand tech and can troubleshoot without help, it saves on expenses down the road.
5. Smart Processes Require Agility and Modern Technology
Modern technology is adopted for agility. Customers want their products immediately. They want issues sorted ASAP. And if you can’t? They’ll find someone who can.
Faster is better. Businesses who lag behind or use dated technology will lose to anyone adopting faster methods. They have upgraded technology, optimized processes, and continuously monitor the processes.
Don’t be left behind; evaluate and optimize your processes periodically.
Image: ESB Professional/Shutterstock.com