A process at work is defined as a set of repeatable actions that need to be continued in order to fulfill a goal that has been set. As such, your workplace is likely to have a number of processes in place. This might be, for instance, receiving and fulfilling a customer order in a certain amount of time or correctly completing paperwork to be approved by the finance department. However, what can you do to simplify your processes and make them more efficient? Read on to discover some ways that you can streamline your processes at work.
- Assess and analyze existing processes
Firstly, assess your current processes so that you are familiar with the way that things are done before you set about changing them. To do this, you might spend some time observing the processes in action on the factory floor or in your office. Get feedback from those employees who carry out the processes: you are sure to get valuable information about what is effective and what could be improved upon. After obtaining your information, analyze the process by writing it up step-by-step in the most simplistic terms, and consider which areas can be improved upon.
- Automate wherever possible
After analyzing your current processes, you might find that a significant amount of time could be saved if you automated time-consuming parts of the process whenever possible. For example, if you operate a warehouse, your order fulfillment process might involve staff searching the length and breadth of the warehouse for the ordered item to take to packaging. To streamline this process, you could invest in a network of conveyor belts that can quickly and efficiently transport items from any part of the warehouse to your order preparation and packaging area.
- Introduce your new process
Once you have developed a new process that you are happy with, you can then introduce it to your employees. For instance, produce a handout detailing the new process in simple terms that are easy to understand; visual aids such as flow charts and diagrams can help to aid understanding. This could also be posted on the staff intranet, if your business has one, and perhaps displayed on walls at work stations for easy reference. Organize demonstrations and training of the new process for employees. You might decide to have a transition period, during which the old process is still accepted, whilst staff learns and get used to the changes.
- Continue to refine the process
To ensure optimum efficiency, you should continue to refine the process. This might involve a regular observation and assessment of the process, every six months or so, to see what pitfalls might be smoothed out. This could be as simple as staff needing a refresher in the process, having got into the habit of cutting corners, or not completing a step correctly. Or, you might find that the process is due to another streamlining in order to maximize your business’s efficiency.