You probably use dozens of business processes every day.
For example, you may go through the same steps each time you generate a report, resolve a customer complaint, contact a new client, or manufacture a new product.
You've likely come across the results of inefficient processes, too. Unhappy customers, stressed colleagues, missed deadlines, and increased costs are just some of the problems that dysfunctional processes can create.
That's why it's so important to improve processes when they are not working well. In this article, we'll look at how you can do this.
About Business Processes
Processes can be formal or informal. Formal processes – also known as procedures – are documented, and have well-established steps.
For example, you might have procedures for receiving and submitting invoices, or for establishing relationships with new clients. Formal processes are particularly important when there are safety-related, legal or financial reasons for following particular steps.
Informal processes are more likely to be ones that you have created yourself, and you may not have written them down. For example, you might have your own set of steps for noting meeting actions, carrying out market research, or communicating new leads.
The Importance of Efficient Processes
These different kinds of processes have one thing in common: they're all designed to streamline the way that you and your team work.
When everyone follows a well-tested set of steps, there are fewer errors and delays, there is less duplicated effort, and staff and customers feel more satisfied.
Processes that don't work can lead to numerous problems. For example:
- Customers may complain about poor product quality or bad service.
- Colleagues get frustrated.
- Work may be duplicated, or not done.
- Costs increase.
- Resources are wasted.
- Bottlenecks can develop, causing you to miss deadlines.