At Addison Clark, we believe in the importance of continually refining our processes to optimize our efficiency and quality of work. As we, along with other businesses, begin the process of returning to our “old normal” in the coming weeks and months, we have been reflecting as a team on the changes we have made as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and which of those changes we want to bring with us as we return to our “old normal.” For us, returning to our “old normal” looks largely like transitioning from remote working to working in the office and resuming in-person client meetings. For our clients, this transition can mean a number of things. Whether your business experienced minor or major disruptions to business over the past several months, consider what aspects of ‘business as usual’ work well and what processes can be further improved upon. Optimize your business for success by continuing to evaluate and improve upon your processes on an ongoing basis, even after you have returned to ‘business as usual.’
Here are some of the areas that benefit from continual process improvement:
In an effort to keep productivity up and stay on top of day-to-day tasks, it is easy to favor the status quo over process improvement. While maintaining standardized processes in the short-term can actually benefit productivity and efficiency, favoring the status quo over the long-term can be detrimental. It is important to take a step back every now and then and evaluate what is working and what’s not. Dig into the data if you have it and make changes. Continue to assess productivity and efficiency as a way to illuminate business operations that could be improved upon.
Quality of output
By taking the time to reevaluate and innovate processes to be more efficient, companies can create space and time to improve upon the quality of their work, product or service. Evaluating what is and is not leading to a desired or optimized
outcome can give indication where processes need improvement. By identifying problems and roadblocks early on, you not only save time and money, but optimize your quality of output as well. Your business processes should spark innovation and creativity and allow time for iterations.
Flaws and inefficiencies in a company’s process can cause even diligent, hardworking employees to feel that their work is overwhelmed or disrupted by unnecessary hurdles. Evaluate which of your business operations may be outdated
or require steps that drain employees’ time and resources or do not add value. Ask your employees what issues are arising to cause frustration or delays and what suggestions they have for improvement. Then, act!
As your company dedicates time and resources to improving upon your processes, increasing productivity, and optimizing quality, you should expect to see an increase in customer satisfaction and loyalty. In the same way it is essential to request feedback from employees, requesting feedback from customers can provide valuable insights. Ask your customers what aspects of your process or features of your product caused frustration or hiccups along the way. Surveys, reviews, and more can be powerful tools to understand where to initiate change. Using process improvement to drive repeat business will ultimately increase long-term ROI.
Finally, continually evaluating and evolving your company’s business practices and processes can give you an edge against competitors. In many instances, your competitors’ products and services will be very similar to your own. Your process is what sets you apart. Having the flexibility to evolve processes when necessary gives you agility in the marketplace and allows you to pivot when change is necessary to continue to optimize your success.
Process improvement is a continuous endeavor and is absolutely necessary for maintaining your relevancy and optimizing success in your industry. Whether your methods for evaluating processes are formal or informal and whether those processes are small or large, success comes when we continually look for ways to do better.