How to Improve Your Organization’s Business Processes
Business process management requires you to define processes, establish these responsibilities by engaging people at your organization, and then identify improvement opportunities for how you can get better at doing this work.
When defining processes make sure you are only measuring organizational factors that are relevant to the process being examined. Be specific. Don’t try to do too much at once. Trying to solve “How do we better serve our customers?” versus “How can we respond to our client's emails in a timely fashion?” are two very different problems. Solving the latter is much more plausible than the former. It is important to limit and prioritize the measures you will use to evaluate the process. Failure to measure the process will forgo any chances of identifying the deeper issues.
Once you have defined the processes you must establish the responsibilities of those involved. Identify which team members are to be responsible for each stage of the process. It is important to do this so there is not a significant hole in your process and so that you can hold teammates accountable for their actions. If we take the email example from above, attempt to ensure that all those involved in client relations are aware of their respective duties to their clients. Setting clear expectations is essential so that when you look to make improvements everyone is on the same page. This will make it easier to create more uniform sets of information when it is time to evaluate it.
Finally, you can identify the areas for improvement. The more measures you gathered the easier this step will be. Say you notice that emails are being returned to clients too slowly due to 20% of them being filed into the spam folder. You can adjust email filing procedures to fix this issue or ask clients to send emails from a particular email address. Not all measures will be useful, but the more you gather the better the odds of successfully improving the process.
Business process improvement is a non-stop activity. No matter how hard you work to streamline your organization’s workload there will always be room for improvement. Take it one step at a time and recognize each milestone you accomplish on the way to increased productivity. Small improvements over time will begin to pile up and your team will be better off for making these efforts to maximize your business processes.