Streamlining Business Processes
The importance of streamlining business processes
As a business grows, managing business processes becomes increasingly complex and it can become challenging to identify which processes are holding your business back. This can have a negative trickle-down effect on all areas of your business, from business reporting to the integrity of your data, all the way to payroll and staff morale.
So what is a business process? A business process is a set of steps or tasks used repeatedly to achieve a desired goal. For example, it’s likely your staff go through a series of steps daily to generate financial reports. In this example, the steps your staff takes in order to create the report is considered the business process, while the financial report generated is the desired goal.
When business processes are working well, they improve efficiency, productivity, and customer satisfaction in a business. This is achieved through various means such as the automation of tedious manual processes and by streamlining processes to save time.
Why does it matter?
A common trait of all successful businesses is their ability to share information internally and externally, fast and reliably – This requires optimised business processes to all be working in unison.
Missed deadlines, missed opportunities and increased costs are just some of the problems inefficient business processes can cause. The result? Increased costs, loss of revenue, frustrated clients and employees, wasted resources and more. This is why it’s so important to ensure your business processes are optimal.
In 2012, IDC conducted a global study and found that over 80% of respondents claimed streamlining business processes had a positive impact on revenue, allowing them to sell more.
The benefit of streamlined processes
In business, time is important and the faster something is done, the better. To achieve this, modern businesses are turning towards ERP solutions like MYOB Exo or MYOB Advanced as a cost effective means to streamline their processes and boost productivity and agility. These solutions provide access to the same up-to-date information anytime so your team is more productive and you’re better informed to make better decisions.
An ERP solution will effectively respond to changes in your business environment – such as consumer preferences change, new opportunities and foreseeing seasonal changes. This allows you to spend time on doing business, rather than on your business.
6 steps to streamlined processes
1. Listing the processes
A good starting point is looking at all your business processes and workflows. Making a list those which are used daily. Write down the process, its purpose, and the people in your business included in this process. Always remember to keep this list as simple but be as through as possible.
2. To streamline, automate or not
Now that your list is complete, rank the business processes from most to least important. This will help you decide on what processes need to be looked at first, which ones should be automated, and which ones can simply be left alone. In deciding, questions to ask yourself include: Will improving this process increase revenue, or decrease costs? Does the process impact my customers / clients? Will improving this process help my staff be more productive?
3: Breaking down processes
The next step is to break down these processes into different stages. While many processes can be complex, a good rule of thumb is to keep things simple by writing down a beginning, middle and desired outcome for each process you’re aiming to streamline.
4: Getting feedback
One thing to always remember is that very few processes can ever be made perfect. Over time, they need to evolve with your business. This is why it’s always a good idea to get feedback from your staff who are involved in the processes. More often than not, staff involved directly with a process will be able to provide you with information you may have overlooked, or provide you with a viewpoint you may have not considered. Remember: even the smallest improvements can ultimately have a huge impact on your business.
5: Automate your business workflow
Spreadsheets are probably the most commonly used tool for tracking and managing business – which can be problematic. Spreadsheets are difficult to share, keep updated, and are prone to data errors. It’s very easy to mistakenly overwrite something, change a formula or delete rows or cells without noticing. And when you’re sharing documents between key staff members, the likelihood of this occurring is exacerbated. This all adds up to time.
The longer you spend putting complicated spreadsheets together, trying to painstakingly ensure that the data has retained its integrity, the less time you have to analyse the information in order to make informed decisions regarding your business.
The good news is that there are several modern solutions like MYOB Exo and MYOB Advanced available, which are specifically designed to streamline business processes. While they are different in the way they are deployed, each solution is designed to make it easy to centrally collect data, automate steps in a business process, and generate better visibility with graphs, charts and reports. In addition, a modern ERP solution can provide you with advanced capabilities such as mobile applications to further streamline complex business processes.
6: Refine and update
Once an ERP solution is implemented and your existing processes have been optimised, it’s important to monitor and continually refine your business processes. For example, as software is updated, it can help further optimise your processes. This is why it’s always a good idea to keep your software up-to-date.
An example of how streamlining a process can help your business
Using email to get paid sooner, rather than later.
Email is how the modern world communicates. Not only is it faster (almost instant), environmentally friendly, and inexpensive, but it also means things don’t get lost as you have a record of everything that has been sent and received.
Email can be used to replace almost any form of communication. And by taking a look at your billing processes and restructuring them to include email, you will see positive impacts – from receiving faster payments, to increased customer service levels.
For example, invoices can be emailed to debtors with links for them to pay the invoice immediately using services such as bPay or PayPal which makes it easier for them to pay you. This can have huge positive impacts on your bottom line because the faster you invoice customers, the sooner they will need to pay you.
ERP solutions like MYOB Exo and MYOB Advanced make streamlining and automating your business processes a breeze. The result is improved efficiency and effectiveness throughout your organisation, while providing you a complete view of your business thanks to their flexible designs, inclusion of mobile apps and the ability to provide true business insights.
Sometimes it can be hard to see the entire benefits of an ERP solution for your business when you have been doing something for so long. That’s why it’s always a good idea to speak with an MYOB-certified specialist. They can show you how streamlining and automating your business processes will increase productivity and facilitate growth for your business.
Doing business should be made as simple as possible, which exactly what MYOB Enterprise solutions do. To discuss your options and find out how to make your business more profitable and efficient, get in touch today.