Increasing operational efficiency is a major challenge of any organization and requires the ability to assess and improve workflows. This article explains the importance of investing in process optimization and provides some tips for your company.
Why is process optimization important?
With a culture focused on process optimization, the whole company develops a critical view of how activities are conducted. This is important because it avoids conformism with work methods and tools that become obsolete over time.
Organizations that don’t analyze their processes may end up delivering low quality services when compared to competitors that keep up with market trends. On the other hand, continuous improvement of work routines will bring several advantages, including:
- productivity growth;
- improved integration between departments;
- highly engaged employees;
- more opportunities for innovative solutions;
- service agility and precision;
- proper resource allocation;
- improved customer experience;
- reduction of operating costs;
- brand strengthening.
5 tips for process optimization
Considering the benefits mentioned above, we are going to discuss some good practices that should be part of the organizational routine to promote process optimization:
1. Map current processes
If you are not sure about the current level of integration between departments in your company, the first step is to map your company’s processes – which many organizations don’t do. Having a complete view of end-to-end workflows is essential for a better understanding of everything involved in the delivery of a product or service.
This is also important because, when changing one part of a process, no matter how small such change is, there’s probably an impact on the other parts. If these consequences are not measured correctly, the attempt to optimize processes can become a big problem.
2. Identify recurrent problems
Adopt a work method that allows the identification and resolution of recurring problems; for instance, the PDCA cycle, also known as the Deming cycle. This method can be applied to different scenarios and it’s widely used in service desk. Also, it’s directly related to ITIL, a set of good practices for IT management.
At first, many aspects may have to be corrected. In this case, it is important to set priorities considering the problems with a strong impact on the company’s operations and results.
3. Eliminate unnecessary tasks
Tasks that shouldn’t even exist are among the most common super villains affecting productivity. These unnecessary tasks include parts of processes that could be easily eliminated with the use of proper tools and inflexible or repetitive activities that should be automated.
When a company doesn’t optimize processes as part of its routine, this situation tends to snowball. If you have identified a task (or even an entire process) that no longer makes sense, assess the impact on other departments based on data and suggest changes.
4. Improve resource allocation
Poorly designed processes take your team efforts to the wrong place. The root cause of the problem usually lies in poor internal communication and how customer relationship is conducted. Also, the lack of reliable data and internal misalignment result in waste of time and money.
For example, in service desk, the lack of a service flowchart leads to a longer contact with the customer, because there is no standard action to perform for each case or guidance to provide a service user.
5. Invest in specialized tools
It’s impossible to talk about process optimization without mentioning the tools your team optimizes. Outdated software programs, without productivity reporting options, don’t enable the continuous improvement cycle of your operation because managers use data to identify opportunities.
On the other hand, specialized tools unlock and speed up daily practices, and facilitate the implementation of all tips mentioned above.
Want to know more? Learn about some essential features of a service desk tool and how they improve efficiency in management.