Work flow is a delicate process. When was the last time you sat down at your desk and knocked out every task you had planned? The coffee is wafting and with the scent come the fires. Last minute ‘urgent’ meetings, emails already piled-up, and the phone hasn’t stopped ringing since 9:01. This is normative for business people from entrepreneurs to IT managers. Even interns aren’t impervious to the caveats of not having streamlined operations.
Still, for many of us, the words simplify, consolidate, and expedite leave a sour taste in our mouths. Companies spend millions a year attempting to optimize productivity. Implementing DevOps, hiring a special project manager, and summoning employees by the dozen for training and meetings to streamline operations all end up being somewhat counterproductive.
New technology is vital. However, integrating different technologies into your company’s functioning inevitably takes trial-and-error. Special project managers can find state-of-the-art methods to focus the company but often dissent comes from the top down. The things that drive your employees crazy is having endless meetings—all discussing productivity—without anything definite reached. If you decide on a process you need to stick with it.
In 2017, there are a variety of workplace programs that will keep employees happy and goals met. Read this guide to explore 10 ways to streamline operations in your business.
Embrace the Right Technology
An IT department exists for a reason, but all too often when we have an issue, we phone up IT instead of using self-reliance. When you adopt a technology make sure adequate training is provided.
Also, if you choose to use a certain program make sure that it is worth the long-term investment. You don’t want to outgrow your software. If you choose an HR application that will fit the needs of your operations with under 50 people, but in five years your operations might double, find software that is more accommodating.
Technology welcoming uniformity will streamline operations. If your marketing department is using Microsoft Excel, and your R&D is using EditGrid, there are going to be huge communication issues between the departments.
Flextronics, an electronic manufacturing services provider, was able to combine 80 disparate HR Global systems into one solution by integrating Workday. This brought the total cost of ownership down by 30%. When all your employees are using the same compatible technology this can remove a majority of the headaches.
Using a Server & Cloud-Computing
Physical space is a commodity for every organization. If you haven’t eliminated as much tangible paper from your office as possible, do it this now. The more systems that can be done digitally the better.
Depending on the scale of your company and the amount of documentation, you should consider investing in a central server. Servers are secured with encryption and are more cost-effective and reliable than paper. One glitch in the workflow chain is having a piece of paper passed back-and-forth between desks needing approval signatures. Even with a central server, this can happen.
Finding a cloud-computing spreadsheet app can help streamline the approval process and communication in general. When every department is working off of one centralized task sheet, communication will be seamless.
Let the Robots do the Work and Automate
Many daily functions of the workplace can easily be automated. Social media marketing is integral to success but can be a very time-consuming process.
As important as marketing with these social media platforms is many segments can be automated. Powerful automation software can even provide your business with chatbots with algorithms so precise it’s difficult for anyone to distinguish between human and AI.
A survey from a 2014 report stated that using automating software eliminated 35% of repetitive tasks out of marketers’ hands. This allows your marketing team to focus on new engaging projects. The same report showed that 10% of customers reported better experience. As technology improves these figures will only increase.
Define Work Processes
Everyone in your organization has a different daily schedule of tasks. Sometimes different departments have different structures. Your sales team is going to have a more fluid work-flow than accounting. Management should first define what each position’s daily process is, then find ways to streamline operations.
At any given moment a good manager should know what each one of her employees is working on. This keeps workloads manageable and lets managers know when to assign new projects. Having a system of prioritizing tickets will ensure employees have an appropriate workload. When employees aren’t suffocated with projects there is less stress and incidentally, productivity is higher.
Dissect Each Step
For instance, say your business is a brick-and-mortar specialty bike store. Even retail businesses can streamline operations by distinguishing a systematized process for various tasks. An employee’s’ day should be outlined by each step.
- Open store
- Count Drawers
- Stock Floor by Section
- Re-Merchandise Floors
- Attend to Sales
- Place Supply Orders
This is a hypothetical, but you get the point. When employees know exactly what they should be doing, they’ll do it. When tasks are organized and presented in a way that maintains a predetermined workflow this will optimize productivity. Even the more protean job titles in the spectrum like graphic designers can have a clear picture of all the minute tasks done on any given day.
Not even bureaucrats like bureaucracy. Well, maybe some do. The point is that integrating rigid task scheduling can only streamline operations so far. Your employees need to be properly trained and motivated to keep employee morale and productivity high. Ask your employees about their daily process. Many times managers perceive vital psychological breaks as time wasted.
A Microsoft Survey stated that “6% of workers say their productivity has improved thanks to social media and social media tools. A further 37% wish their organization’s management would embrace social media tools in the workplace in order to increase productivity.”
Most diligent employees naturally find ways to streamline their own operations to spend less time on monotonous tasks. Speak with your employees about their workflow and give them the tools they need to be efficient.
The old expression, ‘Time is money’ that your dad used to tell you works both ways. Figuring out the best solutions to handle money can end up saving the company tons and streamlines operations. Many small business owners don’t understand how drastic the charges they pay each month can be. Requesting a bank analysis statement provides a guide to help reduce costs.
Filing taxes digitally can also save valuable time. Using automated accounting software will make tax season more of a breeze and less of a headache as April 17th draws near. In most cases, large companies that file over 250 returns a year are mandated to file electronically.
When you know you’re going to be using a business service solution for the long-run—-pay by the year, not the month. It seems simple, but many entrepreneurs’ lack of resources precedents more logical financial moves.
In 2017, the average cost of hiring a new employee is $57,968, not including training. Just as rattling, is that replacing an employee that earns 8/hour costs the company $5,500. Turnover is a huge roadblock in optimizing the potential of a business.
Creating an online platform for prospective employees that digitally weed themselves out of the hiring process will ensure only qualified candidates make it past preliminary screenings. This saves all those involved time.
Having an adequate strategy for employee retention also increases company mobility.
More and more companies are disgruntling workers and going back to a traditional systems of clocking-in-and-out. In place, many have embraced digital functions that allow employees to work remotely and receive more specialized benefits.
Management teams would save themselves and their employees time using an automated scheduling app. Using apps like humanity will create a dashboard that will automatically generate schedules based on employee availability and credentials. Using this app replaces hours wasted configuring a schedule.
Streamlining your business in 2017 is easier and easier and new technology and methods are premiered daily that cut out the tedium and hike up the revenue.
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