Imagine a scenario where you get requested sales reports within an hour instead of nine. Close fifteen leads instead of five. And get more done in a day that takes you an entire week. That’s exactly what Business Process Optimization (BPO) is all about.
Krittin Kalra, Founder of Writecream, saw a 30 percent increase in the number of customer contacts after implementing different optimization methods. The organization also noticed a reduction of 30 percent in cycle time.
Yes, business process and operations optimization can directly improve your balance sheet. Streamlining business processes saves you time. You have your operations on schedule and employees; productive. It initiates a virtuous cycle that fast-forwards your success.
So, here’s this article on Business Process Optimization fundamentals to help you understand different business process flows and fine-tune them.
Time to dive in.
What is business process optimization?
The standard Business Process Optimization definition is that it’s the strategy implemented to improve existing practices in daily operations and make them more efficient.
“Business process optimization is the strategy implemented to improve existing practices in daily operations and make them more efficient.”
The objective of BPO is to manage resources to get better results. It aims to make processes less complicated and more time-efficient. It begins with process documentation, followed by an analysis of what to improve.
Now, you don't have to spend a whole year analyzing. The goal of BPO is to save resources, after all.
We have a full-fledged guide on how to document a business process. Also, here’s a nifty guide on how to automate business process documentation with Scribe.
With that covered, let’s talk about the optimization workflow and benefits.
What are the benefits of business process optimization?
Some of the business process optimization benefits you can notice almost instantly are:
1. Synced teamwork
For a seamless and efficient workflow, you need optimized processes. It reduces turnaround times and improve team productivity. Lack of communication and unclear responsibilities are among the many risks that hamper project management.
2. Reduced errors
Business process improvement and automation lowers the chances of errors. With proactive analysis, you can detect inaccuracies and remove (or reduce) them. Your team won’t have to spend the entire time “debugging” the work.
3. Reduced costs
With a tuned business development process flow, you’re entitled to better management of resources. You can weed out inefficient tasks and use your resources where they’re most needed. Thus, you can reduce costs, save crucial time, and improve the bottom line.
4. Consistent quality
Consistency in your product/service quality is another benefit of documenting and optimizing your processes. Optimization allows you to replicate your performance wherever you want. It gives you a competitive advantage. Food chains like KFC and McDonald’s are the proof.
5. Smooth onboarding
Streamlined team onboarding and training is a by-product (a beneficial one, of course) of business process optimization. Optimization makes it easy to create, manage and access training documents. Everything is documented, thus improving the onboarding experience.
Talon.One uses Scribe to oversee its 300 percent team growth. And it saw success across the eight time zones its team spans.
How is business process improvement in real life?
You’ll find many real-life business process improvement examples in client onboarding, vendor selection and more. Each process has multiple steps. And each can be tweaked and improved to compound into an earth-shaking result.
Here is a glimpse of how business process optimization works out in real:
Northern Trust, an asset and investment management company, reduced time spent on non-client tasks by 69 percent. It used the Scribe process documentation tool to document and maintain a record of all the processes.
By helping create a central knowledge base, Scribe allowed Northern Trust to streamline its processes. It could share and replicate standardized processes across the globe.
“Scribe helps us [deliver excellent service] without sacrificing the employee experience. It is making our employees more productive.” – Pete Cherecwich
Maciek Kubiak, Head of People at PhotoAiD, used process optimization in the HR department. The team analyzed the current talent acquisition process and worked together to find ways to improve it.
It worked out changes to reflect the current needs of the company better. And it implemented measures to make the system more efficient and effective.
“We’ve been able to reduce the time it takes to fill vacant positions by an average of 30 percent. This has had a positive impact on our company’s bottom line, as well as reduced stress levels for our hiring managers.” – Maciek Kubiak
Gauri Manglik, CEO & Co-founder of Instrumentl, implemented an improvement framework for operational efficiency. With the help of a consultant, she ensured that every employee knew their role.
“We had a ton of work that was piling up. And it felt like everyone was running around trying to get things done. So, we hired a consultant who helped us set up a system for prioritizing tasks and delegating them appropriately.” – Gauri Manglik
With the help of business process consultants, Instrumentl developed a flow chart to keep every department in sync. It was of great help as it gave everyone an idea of their job. It helped them see how they fit into the overall picture.
Having relevant systems in place, Instrumentl could divide the workload efficiently and get things done on time.
Check this step-by-step guide template to write easy-to-follow business process guides.
How to optimize different business processes?
Now, here are the 5 steps to implement business process optimization framework:
1. Define problems at hand
The first step while improving business processes is identifying the actual issue(s). So, do you have all your procedures documented conveniently? You should do that first. You need to know how the processes conspire; to control and optimize them
Use Scribe to capture your processes and document them efficiently.
Next, get your hands and clothes dirty. Shuffle through your process documentation and pick the complex process you want to optimize. You might have several ones.
To prioritize, you can check them against their running frequency and impact on the overall operation. It’s best to focus on the key processes and then get down to the next level.
2. Collect all relevant data
Now, focus on the data. Businesses run on data. Yes, also people, but tracking the data in those big black boxes is necessary, too.
List the key performance indicators (KPIs) if you have any. Even if you don’t, you probably have some expected outputs in mind. Go ahead, list your expectations. And the actual results against them.
Next, gather insights from your employees. Check with them about performance and the changes they would like.
Document everything, number the files, and arrange them in a proper system. Keep all the records somewhere safe. You need them again… for analysis.
3. Analyze the processes
Now, roll up your sleeves and huddle in the war room with the decision markers. You got to make your process flows more efficient. And for that, you’ve to identify the factors that help you improve.
You can start by comparing real-life performance data against your KPIs or expectations. If the processes aren’t working as intended, you’ll need to find the bottlenecks.
Then, you can review the documentation and employee insights to find complex steps. See if you can simplify or automate them entirely. 88 percent of SMBs say automation allows them to close leads quickly and reduce errors.
There might also be wasteful tasks that you must eliminate to detoxify your business process.
4. Roll out necessary changes
Once you analyze and get rid of unnecessary elements, it’s time to implement the changes. This is the stage where you start working on the insights gathered while analyzing.
One thing to keep in mind here is to test the changes first. Prepare a new business process flow diagram and ask the users to follow it. Once the test results are deemed a success, deploy the changes system-wide.
You can use Scribe Pages to create automatic documentation, complete with text, hyperlinks, Loom videos and more!
5. Monitor the progress
The optimization process isn’t complete until you get desired results. And it’s miraculous to get it right the first time. So, keep an eye on process performances.
Also, it takes time for employees to adjust to the improvements. Take it slow, review progress and make notes. About everything that works and that doesn’t. BPO is an iterative process involving making changes as you go.
The most efficient business processes are efficient because they are monitored relentlessly and improved gradually.
Are you ready for business process optimization?
Business Process Optimization is never simple, and it never will be. Still, you need to optimize your processes for improved teamwork, reduced costs and consistent quality of service.
It begins with an understanding of how different processes work together. So, document them well, identify the bottlenecks, and work towards removing those. Find opportunities to improve the process and identify where you can get help. It will be a long and tedious task, but it will pay dividends in the long run.