Are your current business processes in need of an update? Even if your workflows are tried and true, switching to more efficient operations increases productivity and saves you from unnecessary costs. If you’re not considering how to innovate your everyday functions, your organization is bound to fall short of reaching its full potential.
Process improvement is a method organizations use to address inefficiencies in their business, problem solve, modernize and boost productivity.
Let’s explore the significance of continual process improvement and how you can jumpstart efficiency across your organization in a sustainable way.
Why Is Continual Process Improvement Important?
Prioritizing continual process improvement supports businesses in the following ways:
- Customer satisfaction
Improving business processes leads to delivering better products and outcomes for your clientele.
- More competitive products and services
As updated processes enhance your products and services, they become stronger alternatives to the competition.
- Employee engagement
Team members get a chance to test new ways to innovate their day-to-day functions, contribute their input and improve their workflows.
- Decreasing costs and reducing waste
Organizations gain insight into unnecessary expenses or excess items as they regularly monitor and assess the efficiency of current processes.
- Maintain efficiency over time
By regularly evaluating processes, organizations gain insight into how work is getting done and the specific areas that need changes when certain procedures become outdated.
What are the consequences of letting process improvement fall to the wayside?
As industries transform, businesses that aren’t on top of innovating processes fall behind due to a variety of factors, such as inferior products or services, unnecessary spending, wasteful practices, lack of productivity and high employee turnover rates.
Despite its importance, businesses still neglect process improvement. This can be attributed to the investment of time and resources into the current system. The disruption of periodically changing your processes is not worth sacrificing the evolution of your business. Companies save costs in the long run by staying abreast of the inefficiencies in their daily activities and addressing them accordingly.
Six Steps of Process Improvement
Although process improvement aims to solve and avoid problems, if not properly planned and executed, it can come with its own set of challenges which include:
- Not pulling enough data, or the right kind of data, to test results
- Not properly preparing, supporting and equipping team members to drive the changes
- Lack of understanding new technology and tools
- Stalls in implementation
- Solely focusing on efficiency without considering other contextual factors
Luckily, these challenges can be avoided. Abiding by these six steps helps effectively initiate and implement new improvements:
- Map out the processes that need to be assessed. You can’t improve a process unless you understand it thoroughly. Guarantee you have complete insight into how work is getting done, and from there, create a workflow or flow chart that clearly demonstrates your current approach. Consider the ripple effect that changing a process may have a on other processes.
- Define the challenges your business is facing. Identify your organization’s goals and what factors are standing in your way.
- Analyze what needs to be improved. Assess the effectiveness of your current processes and what inefficiencies need to be addressed.
- Formulate an upgraded process based on your pain points. This is where you’ll use the issues your business is facing to rework your process by focusing on problem solving and increasing efficiency. From there, prepare how you will unroll the new process, train your team, test its efficacy and measure results.
- Implement the new process. Identify the best plan of action for implementing your new process so that the most urgent needs and problems are addressed first. Staggering the implementation of certain changes allows you to observe the effect of each update (and adjust if needed) while giving employees a chance to acclimate.
- Get feedback and measure results. Following the implementation, consult your team members and get their feedback and ideas on the new process. Since you should be consistently monitoring the performance of the process, this line of communication should remain active.
Configure a system of gathering and measuring metrics to determine how well the improved process is helping achieve your goals. Analyze the data to see if it’s working and continue to track results to see where improvements can be made moving forward.
The Role of Technology
Technology can be an extremely powerful contributor to process improvement. Manual processes can be automated and handled in a virtual environment, which reduces additional costs and waste. However, technology should be treated as a tool to aid you on the road to process improvement—it’s just a piece of the puzzle.
Relying solely on a new system to solve all your problems is shortsighted. You must continuously assess performance and measure your results, ensure your team is optimizing the solution and secure a plan for how you’ll use that technology to continue innovating processes in the future.
Process Improvement With NetSuite
Implementing technology that focuses on process improvement can help your business get the most out of your investment.
For example, NetSuite is an all-in-one, cloud-based ERP system that continually updates itself. Improvements to processes are implemented across the platform to streamline outdated functions, allowing organizations to continue to evolve while using the solution. With a single cloud-based system, businesses on NetSuite have more efficient updates than those relying on separate systems for their processes.
With SuiteSuccess Starter Edition, NetSuite offers a staged approach to implementation so you can consume capabilities based on your needs and transform your business over time to drive results.
Once on NetSuite, features like SuiteFlow help simplify everyday business processes and allow you to stay ahead of the latest advancements to improve your workflows. This saves you from added costs since you don’t need to change systems in order to innovate.
Continual process improvement allows your organization to problem solve, boost productivity and stay competitive. Establish a plan for how to assess processes, effectively initiate changes and implement new improvements. Finding the right technology to support your process improvement efforts will equip you with the tools to advance your business, achieve your goals and maintain efficiency.
If you’d like to learn how NetSuite can help your organization with process improvement, contact us online or give us a call at 410.685.5512.