Following processes help stabilise our professional well-being – it provides purpose, structure and a useful tool to measure individual and business effectiveness.

We set processes for almost everything we do and processes are alive across every industry – but how often do you evaluate your processes – no matter how small? 

Are you missing ways of improving your productivity or how you work with your customers?

Inefficient processes and unstructured communication can create confusion, cause delays and misunderstandings.  It can hold up projects and ultimately frustrate customers – all affecting your profit points.

The beauty of process improvement is that you can start small and start now.

Three areas to consider could be

  • The Impact of Waste – time, money, resource
  • The Impact of Quality – enhancement opportunities
  • The Impact on your Customers

During the Process Improvement and Change sessions as part of the Better Business Skills programme, you’ll get to know Kaizen approach; the Deming Cycle (known to you and I as the long ‘to do’ list) and Lean Six Sigma as well as finding out how you can use these systems to support your own process improvement strategy.

No matter what system or theory you use – your objective should always remain the same:

to reduce waste and increase efficiencies.

Building a strategy is simple – but don’t be put off with the word strategy – it’s simply another word for a plan. Think about what you really want to achieve and write down how you want to achieve it.

We’d suggest you look at the following as a starting point:

Put your customer first

Identify your customer journey through identification of touch points – are there areas that could be improved?

  • Think about your front facing operations – sales; marketing; online touch points?
  • Think about your collaborative operations – your internal processes that could affect the customer experience
  • Think about your external operations – your supply chain and define your processes to ensure they don’t let you - and your customer – down.

Identify your customer experience

What is their impression of your business – are there areas that could be improved through thinking like your customer?  Identify their pain points and look at ways of improving your processes to reduce any frustrations

Bring employees into the analysis

Engaging employees is critical to the success of process improvement. By asking employees their opinions around daily tasks or indeed how they see the business.  Most valuably, it will allow a sense of ownership and involvement from your employees – leading to a quick execution of any improvement

Use technology

When you use technology to improve processes it can reduce the potential for human error.  Think about your workflow around documentation for instance – can any of this be updated, modernised through the use of technology – allowing for a more stream-lined approach?

Aim to understand the needs and expectations of your customers and regularly review your processes around your service standard – technology can add efficiency and help improve processes but only when aligned to the customers’ needs. 

Develop your skills to recognise dissatisfaction in order to identify process improvement and ultimately improve performance and retain customer loyalty.

By committing to small, but regular process improvements all the time, little by little, your efficiencies will allow you to become more effective and see your customers’ needs more clearly.

Business Improvements can be for many reasons -  process problems, customer complaints, safety reasons or just to make the job easier, therefore more efficient. By using systematic continuous improvement and problem-solving techniques, we can all achieve the desired objective easily.

For more information on how you can improve your processes, take a look at our session within the Better Business Skills programme (eligibility applies).

Providers

Register your business as an NBSL provider and stay up to date with the latest funding information.

If you provide business support services like marketing, business planning, human resources or financial planning find out how you could register with us to offer a grant of up to £3200 to your clients for work that you do for them.

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