Process optimisation: A how-to guide for businesses
What is process optimisation?
Process optimisation is the practice of analysing and refining processes to increase efficiency and output. Optimising processes eliminates bottlenecks and reduces the risk of error.
Why process optimisation is important?
Managers embrace the optimisation process because it improves efficiency, increases productivity and reduces costs — the trifecta of a solid business management strategy. Process optimisation helps organisations scale effectively, while also benefiting the following areas:
Profitability can improve when managers focus on optimising processes because they can lower costs while increasing productivity. Optimisation can make any business more profitable by:
Optimising processes leads to improved product or service quality by eliminating sources of defects or errors. Brands can improve the overall quality of their products or services, leading to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Optimisation produces significant cost savings by streamlining processes and removing time-consuming bottlenecks. Product-based companies can benefit even further by optimising their inventory and reducing waste.
2. Customer experience
Happy customers lodge fewer complaints, and they come back for more. They also recommend your products and services to family members, friends — even random strangers on the internet — which boosts your bottom line.
3. Employee morale
Employees who feel valued and engaged in their work are more satisfied with their jobs. When job satisfaction is high, staff turnover decreases. Process optimisation can improve employee morale in two ways:
Less stress and frustration
Streamlining processes leads to a natural reduction in the bureaucracy and red tape employees must navigate to do their jobs. It also increases efficiency, which makes employees feel more productive and fulfilled in their roles.
When employees can get on with their tasks without having to do “workarounds” to accommodate poor systems and processes, they become more invested in their roles.
The optimisation process aims to increase efficiency. Some effective techniques for evaluating processes include:
Gathering customer and employee feedback
Gain valuable insights into areas that need improvement by regularly soliciting feedback from customers and employees. Doing so builds stronger relationships, boosting brand reputation and loyalty.
Analysing data identifies patterns and trends that can affect performance. It also illuminates processes you can automate for greater efficiency.
Creating a process map can help you spot unnecessary or redundant steps in a process.
How to optimise your business processes
Understanding the importance of optimising your business processes is only the first step toward achieving your goals.
Choosing an approach is another key component of success. There are four ways businesses can optimise their processes for greater efficiency and productivity:
Automation eliminates repetitive tasks and boosts productivity and job satisfaction; therefore, more and more business owners are recognising the value of automation. Industry experts predict that Aussie business could automate 25%-46% of business processes by 2030.
Business processes such as data entry, invoicing and scheduling can all be automated. With a business management platform, you can automate your business processes across all your key workflows – customers, employees, projects, suppliers, finances, accounting and tax.
2. Conversion rate optimisation (CRO)
The conversion rate optimisation process improves the performance of an organisation’s landing pages or website to encourage visitors to act.
The desired actions may include buying a product, committing to a discovery call or signing up for a newsletter. Businesses can refine the user experience through A/B testing, data analysis and user research.
CRO methods include:
improving visual appeal through website design and layout
optimising load times
testing calls-to-action, headlines and other copy to find the messaging that’s most effective.
3. Lean startup method
Customer feedback is a crucial component of process optimisation.
The lean startup method works well for developing and launching new products or services. It emphasises rapid prototyping and iteration based on customer feedback.
Use this method to:
gather feedback from stakeholders
test and validate new process designs or improvements.
4. Quality management system (QMS)
Organisations can use a QMS to ensure their products or services meet or exceed customer expectations.
To use the QMS framework for process optimisation, organisations can:
establish measurable quality objectives and targets for each process
identify and document processes critical to achieving quality objectives
monitor and measure process performance.
A QMS allows for the continuous improvement of processes, focusing on efficiency, cost-effectiveness and the reliability of products and services.
5 steps to implementing process optimisation:
1. Analyse current processes.
Reflect on your current processes: Are they working like a well-oiled machine, or are they clunky and cumbersome? Using data and technology for digital transformation and to analyse processes can help organisations gain valuable insights and make better decisions.
Involve your employees in this stage of analysis. Often employees put in place workarounds to accommodate poor processes, which you may not be fully aware of.
2. Identify process optimisation methods.
Just because you’ve always done something one way doesn’t mean you can’t make improvements. Even making minor tweaks or introducing new technology can produce big results.
3. Develop process maps.
Use visuals to map out your business processes and the optimisation methods your business plans to utilise.
Taking this step deepens your understanding of processes, resource intensity and wastage. Include all steps in the process and assign a team member to oversee each step.
One of the most beneficial types of process charting is lifecycle mapping. As its name implies, it illustrates the different stages of a process or product from beginning to end.
Organisations can glean valuable information from lifecycle maps about the stages within the task, actors involved, available options and their impact.
4. Test your process optimisation.
Consider piloting portions of your optimisation plan to test their effectiveness before committing to a full-scale launch. Doing so provides an opportunity to troubleshoot any missteps.
5. Monitor performance indicators.
Finally, don’t forget to measure and track your progress. Include cost reduction and increased productivity among your key performance indicators (KPIs).
Continuous monitoring of KPIs is the most effective way to evaluate the success of optimisation. Gathering feedback from stakeholders and customers is a critical part of this stage, too.
Optimise your business processes with MYOB
MYOB is a business management platform that allows you to optimise and automate your business processes across all your core workflows – accounting and tax, finance, customers, projects, suppliers and employees.
With best practice business processes built into the platform, you can maximise your operational efficiency quickly and easily, without having the complexity of re-designing each and every process yourself. You can also set and track KPIs so you can see how you’re doing and continue to fine-tune your processes to achieve even better results. Unleash your business’ potential with MYOB.