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Process Development

What are the processes in your business?

Having set procedures isn’t just for companies that do manufacturing. Providing customer service will also have a process. In fact, whatever your business does you will have processes in place even if you hadn’t previously thought of them as such. How effectively they work will have a significant impact on the success of your business as you grow and move forward.

One of the biggest issues that businesses face is knowing when to update their processes to maintain efficiency. Part of the route to success is refining existing processes and developing new ones.

What exactly do we mean when we refer to processes?

A process is a series of actions that should get expected results. It should save time and be repeatable. We follow processes all the time from making a cup of tea to setting a quarterly budget to taking a new customer order.

What you are seeking from a process is reliability both regarding results and inputs. If you don’t know what an input should be or your results are inconsistent then your process doesn’t work.

Reviewing how you make a cup of tea is actually a good way to get yourself thinking critically about processes. Consider why you do each step and if there is a way to speed things up while maintaining or improving the quality of your brew.

When should you develop your processes?

Ideally, you won’t wait until the processes break before you give them a tune-up. Think of it like servicing a car to keep things running smoothly. You’re looking ahead to anticipate problems and resolve them before they happen.

Processes become inefficient because they are not questioned. Unnecessary actions become a burden when a clear idea of the purpose of each step is not built into the system. For example, a small business might send out handwritten notes with each order when starting out. As the number of orders has increased this has become time-consuming and costly. Is it still a valuable part of the process? The answer depends on whether it is being done because it has always been done that way or because a personal touch is an important part of the company brand.

Changes such as scaling up what you do or introducing something new to the process, including software, materials and people, are a natural point to review how things are done.

Likewise, when staff aren’t following the process it’s time to look at it more closely. Remember the real owners are the people who use it. We’ve all heard staff comment on how daft or pointless things they ‘have’ to do are. When you’re making changes get those who are following the steps to contribute to making improvements. They know how it works, and what the problems are, much better than anyone else

Not making changes when it doesn’t work isn’t just inefficient. It also leads to staff and customers feeling that their opinions don’t matter and suggests that you’re not interested.

Actions to develop processes

One of the first things you’ll spot when you start to review your processes is that they are all interlinked. This can make the task of working through them seem daunting. How do you separate them out?

This is one of the places where it can be really useful to work with someone who will question your whys.

As mentioned above talking to your staff about the problems they have with processes can be a great place to begin this work.

A specialist Lean & 6 Sigma consultant will provide you with expert support. Being too close to the process can stop you from seeing what is happening. If your business employs just you and one or two staff members, then you’re probably not thinking critically about every single action you undertake. You carry it out in the same way that you’d put the kettle on. Fresh eyes can certainly help you to identify the weal points.

This is where our free Clear The FOG review gives you a starting point for reviewing the processes in your business. Your hour long session includes time looking at operational structures and processes and is followed up with a written report. You can explore the suggestions yourself or we can work further together. If you want help in resolving some of the pain points then our flexible services can work to find the solutions you need to keep on developing.

Take action now to make your business more efficient. Take your first step to developing your processes by booking your free Clear the FOG review.

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