Process Management – How To Streamline Your Operational Processes

Posted by Jacob Goodwin in Insights - Last updated

Process guides everything. Each decision, each activity, each interaction,

And for any business to run effectively, processes require crystal clear transparency and laser focussed clarity.

A poorly implemented, or non-existent, process can be hugely detrimental to an organisation.

Whereas the right one can enable you to predictably generate success.

Managing your processes to ensure they are optimised toward your goals and targets is a must. Otherwise, leaving your workforce to act without a consistent purpose puts your success at a significant risk.

Across every aspect of your business, it’s undeniable that if you are not consistently moving forward, you are actually falling behind your competition.

This includes regularly reviewing and developing your processes. By tweaking for constant improvements, no matter how small or large the organisation may be, you can remain ahead of the curve in an increasingly competitive business landscape.

In this Anthill guide, we aim to lay out the basics of Process Management, why it matters to you and share actionable tips for managing and optimising your own business processes.


To Download our “Process Management – How To Streamline Your Operational Processes” Guide as a PDF, click here!


WHAT IS PROCESS MANAGEMENT?

Process Management is the practice of aligning each and every company process with your organisation’s strategic goals.

Put simply, it ensures every action taken across the business is completed with one of your key aims in mind. Without this alignment, you leave the door open for time and effort to be lost on activities that won’t help you achieve your ultimate aims.

This includes designing and implementing process structures, establishing tracking systems that align data with organisational targets and educating staff across the business to manage processes effectively.

When conducted effectively, streamlined processes can revolutionise a business, setting it on an upward trajectory to outperform all competitors.

Yet when processes become clunky and outdated, business stalls, productivity drops and revenue slips through the cracks.

For many companies, especially those who have experienced regular, recent success, it can be easy to rest on your laurels. The best organisations never allow this to happen; innovation was never born through comfortability.

By staying on top of your process, you stay on top of your business. Process Management is the tool to achieve this.

WHY DOES PROCESS MANAGEMENT MATTER?

Now, you might be asking so what? Perhaps you’re thinking “my processes work fine, we’re on top of everything and the business appears to be working well”.

Consider for a moment, when was the last time your processes were reviewed or optimised?

What worked 10 years ago may no longer be the best practice approach.

Business Process Management is a constant undertaking; it cannot be completed. By fully embracing this fact, doors will continue to open to not only improve profitability but expand your competitive advantage.

How? Being process driven enables organisations to not just be better positioned to address current challenges but also take advantage of future opportunities.

Ask yourself, whilst operations still run in the day to day…

  • Is your company stuck dealing with isolated, legacy apps?
  • Can you tell who or what is impeding your processes?
  • Is it difficult to tell who is responsible for certain processes?
  • Do remote users have trouble tracking critical business processes?
  • Do remote users have trouble tracking critical business processes?
  • Can I guarantee a consistent experience for every customer?

So why does Process Management matter? It enables your business to increase customer satisfaction, promotes innovation and growth and decreases risk through continuous, iterative improvements.


To Download our “Process Management – How To Streamline Your Operational Processes” Guide as a PDF, click here!


TRACKING THE RIGHT CONVERSIONS

Now we’ve covered the basics and importance of Process Management it’s time to put the theory into practice.

From here, we discuss the first of six tips that you can implement immediately to get your process management journey underway.

Beginning with Conversion Tracking; this is a given for evaluation but the more granular the investigation, the more insightful the findings.

Try tracking two conversion rates, one from enquiry to quote and then a second from quote to sale. They are very different stages of the sales process and consequently require different skills and approaches.

Imagine you have a strong enquiry to quote but a weak quote to sale. Without accurate tracking you’re left to guess as to why business isn’t closing.

Digging into the detail, through the use of metrics, would instead allow you to identify precisely where you’re losing opportunities. From here, you’re now in a position of knowledge and can concentrate on improving the specific areas of the process currently lagging behind.

Focussed tracking allows you to evaluate the relative success of each stage and allocate resource appropriately toward the process which requires improvement.

Keeping tabs on your marketing spend is equally valuable. Tracking expenditure from lead through to sale allows you to understand what is working and, more importantly, what isn’t.

HARNESS YOUR DATA

It’s all too easy to drown in data. However, those companies that are relying on intuition, over facts, to guide their decisions are playing with fire.

Now that may seem obvious but time and again it’s clear to see how misuse of too much information can be even more detrimental to efficiency than having no visibility whatsoever.

Every data field should be scrutinised but unless you’re presenting that data to those who actually need it, it’s not delivering value.

It is in fact adding to the “noise”.

As such, your teams should only collect and review specific data if you have a plan for its application.

A good starting point is to identify which metrics highlight your process’s efficiency and focus on them. Data points such as Win Rate, Time At Each Stage and Fulfilment Percentage all help highlight what are often key pinch points.

From this informed position, you can single out those revenue defining activities that have the most room for process optimisation. Doing so will allow you to see a more immediate, and greater, return on investment without taking on too big a task straight away.

WELCOME PROCESS MANAGEMENT CHANGE

Process can’t evolve through stasis. Every company the world over ought to be conscious of, and encourage, operational change.

This doesn’t mean you should be continuously in a state of organisational flux. Rather that time should be dedicated to regularly reviewing the current approach to business.

Workshops are a great exercise in providing a window of insight into how your processes operate in practice.

By opening a discussion, and inviting those whom any changes will directly affect, you provide an opportunity for those on the “front line” of a process to share their own thoughts and suggestions.

Leveraging the resources you have internally can help shine a light on an area you may not see in your day to day ensuring you, and not your competitors, are leading the charge toward progress.

Legacy processes can stifle your business; holding you back through a combination of outdated infrastructure and stubborn rigidity. Self critique can often be one of the hardest tasks we undertake.

However, the question to ask yourself, is whether sticking with what you know worth the risk.

Opening your mind to new possibilities just may be the spark you need to identify, and improve upon, longstanding frustrations.

TEST, TEST, TEST

Always test a new process before rolling it out across the business.

Those rushing to implement an exciting new idea may have the best intentions at heart; but misjudged eagerness can do significant damage should the process change be too sudden or too untried.

Whilst it is absolutely essential to move quickly in order to react to market changes and take advantage of the latest trends, it is equally vital to make sure anything being introduced, operates effectively in practice.

Putting a structure in place to manage process changes will allow you to shine a light on areas requiring alteration.

It will also provide your company with the framework to make reactionary movements with speed and impact to stay ahead of the competitor curve.

Process change doesn’t always run smoothly, as is to be expected when trialling and testing a new theory or approach.

Whilst bumps in the road are all part and parcel of change, disruption can be minimised. Particularly in the case of large user bases, by employing a phased roll out.

A smaller sample size ensures any requisite changes are easier to rectify. This also allows you to learn which concepts need a rework for the “real world” before the new process is adopted by the wider business.

AUTOMATE FOR EFFICIENCY

Last but not least, when evolving your business processes, take the time to consider which pieces of the puzzle can be automated.

Order confirmations, task reminders, new sale alerts, satisfaction surveys and understanding the reasons behind lost opportunities are all vital tasks that warrant significant attention; yet for the most part, require minimal input.

If you find your expertly trained staff are overstretched by time consuming admin, look to the steps that can be automated without compromising customer experience.

Finding areas to automate will not only improve your efficiency and foster a consistent customer experience, but will also ensure that your teams are spending the majority of their time delivering greater value to your clients rather than being lost in stacks of paperwork.

Behind every quality, automated communication is a saving. Whether that be time, money or avoiding a missed opportunity.

Automation facilitates a robust workflow for your unique business processes. By supplementing your processes with trigger based communications or notifications, you can ensure your staff and customers alike receive the best experience.

Your team’s should spend their time focussing on their most important tasks that drive growth across the business; not on tasks that you could, and should, automate.

CONCLUSION

Done properly, Process Management can facilitate significant improvements which help to drive the continuous progress of any business.

Process Management doesn’t mean rigidity and inflexibility. Rather it acts as a vital method of evaluating the relative effectiveness of each and every aspect of an organisation.

Streamlining operations and encouraging collaboration can decrease costs while improving productivity. Likewise automating repetitive tasks, removing bottlenecks, and reducing unnecessary steps increases efficiency and staff morale alike.

Ultimately, aligning your processes to contribute directly and purposefully to your business outcomes improves your overall results.

When you get the process right, everything else falls into place. Then you’ll have yourself a predictable model of success from which you can scale at will.

Process Management… change, review, improve, repeat.


To Download our “Process Management – How To Streamline Your Operational Processes” Guide as a PDF, click here!


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Jacob Goodwin -

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