21st February, 2017
As a business grows it’s challenging to identify which processes are holding you back, but it’s vital to do so if you want to avoid putting the brakes on progress.
A common trait of successful bigger businesses is systems and processes working in unison to improve efficiency and save time.
With the right processes in place organisations can be nimble, agile and deal with change without sacrificing customer satisfaction. How do you create this business Nirvana? Business management systems.
Consider the example of Nippy’s, a house hold name known for their orange juice and other products.
“We needed data to be readily available across the business, not just at the top. Our existing systems couldn’t manage that, and this was holding back our ability to grow the business.” said Ben Knispel, the company’s accountant.
After moving to a business management system Nippy’s saw several big improvements.
“We must have saved 20 hours a week alone handling our distribution process – that’s half a full-time role,” said Knispel.
“On a day to day basis our ERP gives us a better understanding of what is going on in and outside the walls of our warehouse,” said Knispel.
“In the long term, it has provided us with a platform to roll out across our sites over time – so that we can consolidate the group into one solution.”
As Nippy’s shows, business management systems offer tools that automate processes and re-work processes to alleviate bottlenecks and reduce duplicated effort.
Businesses can benefit by leveraging an efficient foundation on which to build a sustainable business model.
Take a good look at all your business processes and workflows, making a list those which are used daily. For each process jot down the process, its purpose, and the people involved in this process.
Rank your processes from most to least important. This will help you decide which processes need the most attention and which ones should be automated.
Things to consider: Will improving the process increase revenue, or decrease costs? Does the process impact customers/clients? Will improving this process help increase staff productivity?
The next step is to break down each of these processes into three stages – the beginning, middle and desired outcome.
Over time processes need to continually evolve to ensure maximum efficiency, so getting feedback from staff involved in the process is always a good idea.
They can often provide information you may have overlooked or not considered.
Spreadsheets are the most common used tool for tracking and managing business data – which can be problematic.
They’re difficult to share, keep updated, and are prone to errors.
It’s easy to overwrite things, change formulas, and delete things without even noticing. Sharing documents exacerbates the likelihood of this which all adds up to time lost.
Each solution is designed to make it easy to collect data, automate steps in a business process and generate better visibility with graphs, charts and reports.
In addition, a modern ERP solution can provide you with advanced capabilities such as mobile applications to further streamline complex business processes.
Once an ERP solution is implemented and your existing processes have been optimised, it’s important to continually monitor them.
Plan to periodically review and update your processes you can continue to refine the system and ensure you don’t lapse into inefficient habits.