Business processes are an essential part of any business. Simply put, they describe all the events and activities your business needs in order to run smoothly. Every new business needs its processes defined and understood by its customers and staff, so as to ensure consistency and high-quality service. Let’s not forget that a good business process isn’t worth much without proper management. In order for your business to run smoothly and consistently, here are some basic tips on business process management you can apply.
1. Develop a process inventory
It’s very important to make an inventory of all the existing processes in your business. Even though you may think you have this step figured out, it’ll be much more insightful to any newbies joining the compny to actually have them all written down. Businesses should have their processes documented in a format that is accessible and understandable. Business Process Analysts can help to define and improve existing processes.
2. Do a trial run
Once you’ve figured out your processes and have a rough idea of how you’d like to run or improve a process, do a trial run. A trial run can involve having key process participants test the process for a while and provide feedback on potential improvement areas. It’s important to capture key process metrics at this point so that the effectiveness of changes made can be determined.
A trial run also gives you the opportunity to adjust and change all the parts of a process which do not work as intended. What’s more, it gives you a glimpse into how managing processes works, which is very useful if you haven’t had much experience yet. Once you’re satisfied with your trial run, you can do things for real with the peace of mind that the end result will be as planned.
3. Estimate cost and time
Before things are set in motion, it’s important to estimate how much money and time the improvement exercise will cost you. This will help you prepare for the upcoming period. Financial surprises should generally be avoided in any improvement exercise. For example, if a software tool needs to be procured as part of the improvement, you should know ahead how much this will cost and whether or not your business is ready to absorb the cost.
Also, knowing how long each improvement effort is planned to last will help you plan your resources adequately.
4. Always strive to improve
Even if you’ve already defined your business process and you’re managing it successfully, don’t shy away from change and improvement. After all, times are always changing and there’s no reason you shouldn’t, too.
You may be happy with your existing processes, but be sure to follow current trends and see if there’s any aspect you can tweak and make better. By doing this, you’ll discover new ideas that will help make your business become even more efficient than you imagined it could be. You’ll also discover that there are plenty of improvement techniques out there. Apply them systematically and in an organized manner. Finally, don’t forget to do another trial run after each change.
5. Work on your security
Most people forget that data security is an essential part of any business process. You won’t achieve much if all the valuable information regarding your company process metrics or operational data is available to the public or persons that should not have access to them. Make sure you implement tight security measures and keep your data safe.
What’s more, don’t trust everyone with the details of the process, especially if it’s a source of competitive advantage. Choose a few trusted employees who should have access and define what level of access they should have. The fewer people are involved, the less chances there are for competitors to get a hold of confidential process information. After all, some processes and data are unique, and can very well be the means to skyrocket your success.
As you can see, managing business processes doesn’t have to be scary at all. A well-defined plan is the key to success, and these tips can help set your business apart in no time. Businesses can’t survive without consistency and business rules, so don’t neglect these.
David Koller is a freelance passionate blogger, copywriter and occasionally business consultant for DW Advisory, experts for insolvency services from Sydney.