Optimising Workflows to Boost Efficiencies and Cut Costs

production line

Better Processes Improve Delivery and Make Better Use of Resources

Every business utilises a set of processes. Make them work together, not in competition, and your business can reap significant rewards

Whether you run a small manufacturing company, a service business or a multinational corporation, any business consists of a distinct set of inputs, processes and outputs. These can be a little like the pieces of a jigsaw – if they all fit together perfectly, the big picture is clear and focused, but if they don’t, you end up wasting more time and effort in creating something that is not as good as it could be.

It is no exaggeration to say that optimising your workflow to make those pieces fit together perfectly can be the difference between success and failure. From the resource management processes that control the inputs, to the internal processes that bring them together, to delivery of the final output, how could your workflows be enhanced?

Smart resource management

Every business is dependent on its resources, whether they are of the physical, human or knowledge-based variety. Balancing the needs of the business with financial constraints is a challenge that has been the subject of numerous studies over the years, particularly in a business that deals with multiple projects and peaks and troughs of demand.

In years gone by, this was managed through a combination of industry experience, statistical analysis and that bastion of business management, hoping for the best. Today, technology in the shape of the latest resource management tools takes the guesswork out of this vital function, and will help to reduce costs while ensuring the right resources are there when you need them.

Take an external view

Most businesses, and the processes that take place inside them, evolve over time. If a team of management consultants were to walk into your business for the first time and evaluate how the different tasks and functions are performed, what would they say?

When you are in the eye of the storm day in and day out, the business efficiencies can be so ingrained that you do not even see them. Approaching your business from this kind of external “first principles” perspective is key to bringing positive change.

Canvass opinion

The workflow in your organisation ultimately depends on those who are performing the various tasks. It is essential to use the unique perspectives of each team member to fully understand, and therefore optimise, every stage in the process.

Invite input in a series of 1-1 and roundtable discussions, and promote creativity by asking participants such questions as what processes need improvement, and equally important, what aspects work best.

As well as providing valuable insights, this will make the implementation of any necessary changes far less painful. Humans have an in-built suspicion of change, particularly when it is being externally enforced. When they feel involved in driving the change, and in particular when it is approached from the perspective of “doing more of what we do best,” there will be far stronger uptake.

Optimise the tech

Resource management is not the only aspect in which technology can have a huge impact. If your business relies on a diverse selection of systems and databases, now could be the time to tie them all together with one integrated system.

As well as boosting efficiency, you will find that it reduces employee frustration and can deliver a whole range of insights on internal and external trends that can guide your strategy and drive the business forward.

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