If you have a business, you likely are constantly on the search for ways to reduce cost and increase efficiency. Fortunately, there are some great systems and tips you can incorporate into your Business processes to streamline the workflow. Business proceses are any task that you do daily to ensure your business functions properly. Because of this, they have a profound impact on your business as a whole, and especially on your profit. Here are 5 ways you can boost productivity in your everyday activities.
1. Completely Understand Your Processes
One of the best ways to improve your business is to understand how it works. This sounds simple, but actually knowing each process and how it connects to other processes is a daunting task. To begin, you might map out each step of your process, whether you’re a service or manufacturing company, to better understand your workflow. A great tool is a flowchart, which uses boxes to represent tasks and arrows to represent the flow of action. Create a chart of your daily operations and all the branching tasks that those operations create. Once you have the entirety of your business laid out in a chart, you’ll be able to see exactly what needs improvement.
2. Just in Time
If you’re in the manufacturing business, chances are that you’ve heard of just in time production. Many manufacturing companies are now implementing this inventory strategy to great success. Basically, a company will only buy inventory if they know that inventory can be immediately manufactured and sold. Not only does this decrease the amount of inventory a company holds, but it also decreases the labor that accompanies the upkeep for a large storage facility. The just in time philosophy could be a great way to cut costs and reduce your workflow. If your particular business allows it, you can effectively save time, money, and labor just by producing goods only when needed.
3. Cross Training
Cross training is a concept that applies to employees; if you have multiple employees in a department who all have different roles and skills, you might be in danger of a bottleneck. If one employee gets sick, takes a day off, or quits, that one step in your processes will be heavily limited or gone altogether. One way to prevent employee-caused bottlenecks is to cross train each employee to have multiple skills and experiences. This allows another employee to step into a role when they are needed, rendering bottlenecks obsolete. Consider rotating your employees through different roles to make them more robust.
Kanban is a manufacturing system that follows the previously mentioned method only in time production philosophy. The kanban system is a scheduling program that highlights each step in your process from ‘Requested’ to ‘Finished’. If you have already mapped out your business processes, you should be able to separate each task into the kanban system. Now, visualizing the steps of your project should be easy: this allows you to find bottlenecks, fix workflow, and keep an eye on departments’ productivity. Kanban is an expansive Business philosophy many companies (like Zara, Pixar, and Spotify) use to push the limits of their productivity.
5. Continually Refine!
Finally, after you have implemented these steps, it is vital to continually evaluate and refine your adjustments. At least every quarter, make sure you track the increases or decreases in productivity that follow the introduction of these systems. If costs increase, restart by redefining your processes to see if an alternative would further streamline your business processes. Change should be a continuous cycle, especially in today’s constantly evolving workplace.