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7 business process management tactics that save you time and money

7 business process management tactics that save you time and money

Defining your processes to remove guesswork and add consistency can streamline your operations and give you more room to focus on productive activities, rather than everyday administration. Here are some ways you can make your processes more effective and easier to follow.

1. Define your current processes

The first step in effective business process improvement is to get a handle on your existing processes. You can then use it to establish a clear baseline for process improvement. Much of this ‘process mining’ can now be automated using business analytics tools such as SAP BusinessObjects or Microsoft BI Tools. These programs can help you gather and make sense of information about the company’s technology, people, procedures and goals.

2. Organise processes around outcomes, not tasks

Define your successes in terms of end results, rather than outcomes of everyday tasks. For example, could your organisation benefit by having one smart, highly skilled employee perform all the steps of a particular process, instead of assigning individual steps to different people?

3. Treat all your resources as if they were in the same location

Cloud computing and enterprise social networking are just two examples of how information technology now allows companies to pull resources together across multiple locations and streamline their business-process management. This ‘virtual aggregation’ allows you to simplify and centralise your processes, break down silos and create economies of scale that save you time and money.

4. Connect parallel processes

When possible, use what you know about workflow management to combine separate, parallel processes while they are in progress, rather than connecting them after they have been completed. You may find that some tasks are being duplicated and can be combined or automated. For example, if you are developing two products that only differ superficially, it may make more sense to combine most of the tasks into one team.

5. Give more decision-making power to employees

Consider integrating more decision points into your processes, rather than keeping the people who perform the tasks separate from those who are making the decisions. Giving your workers more responsibility can result in better decisions, because they will be based on information gleaned directly from the coalface.

6. Capture information only once and at its source

Seek to eliminate unnecessary duplication of data, as this can give rise to errors. An online order form is one example, whereby information entered by the customer is used directly to fulfil the order, without the need for reinterpretation of the data by a third party.

7. Seek external help

One of the markers of an effective leader is that they know when to ask for help. Hiring an outside consultant to look at your processes can provide you with many useful insights that you may have otherwise overlooked.

Simply re-engineering your processes to make them easier to understand can result in major efficiency improvements, as well as happier, more productive employees. It can certainly be a challenge – particularly in large organisations with entrenched cultures – but it’s also worth the effort.

One of the most important processes to streamline is project management. Find out how to manage your projects.

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