Maybe you went through the exercise of streamlining operations last year. So it’s off your list of things to do. After all, if you streamlined your business processes relatively recently, you must still be in great shape, right?
Not necessarily. The thing is that the streamlining process should really be an ongoing, long-term activity in every company. You don’t have to constantly go through every step listed below. But the idea of always improving processes helps your company maximize the benefits of doing so, including reduced costs, improved efficiency and, ultimately, a better bottom line.
How to Streamline Business Operations
For small businesses or large, the following steps will help you streamline every process you use.
- Do a Process Inventory – Even many of the largest corporations don’t inventory or document their processes. If it seems an impossible task, then start with a single division or department. Start by listing all the processes and workflows, including the workflow’s purpose and people involved.
Here’s a bonus tip: no process is too small to save you money by streamlining it.
- Prioritize the Processes – List the processes in order from most important to least important. Doing so will be more difficult than you think, but do your best.
- Breakdown One Process – It doesn’t have to be the most important. If you’ve never done this before, maybe start with a simpler one. Using paper or a whiteboard, it’s easiest if you lay out the steps of the process to visualize it; spreadsheets are popular too.
- Share & Get Feedback – Engaging management and staff in process streamlining may be one of the most productive steps you take. Ask for opinions on improving the process or any single part of it.
- Outsource Non-Core Processes – One of the reasons many businesses don’t realize the sheer number of processes that exist in their operations is because many of those workflows relate to non-core functions of the business.
For example, your business may use an inventory management system. That means keeping existing systems updated, sourcing new technologies, and troubleshooting issues. But are any of those processes part of the core competencies of your business? If not, outsourcing might be the best operations streamlining step you ever took.
If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article about how warehouse management systems work.