Why Even Small Businesses Need Business Process Improvement
Are you doing business at the speed of paper? If you are, then your business may be missing out on opportunities to improve customer satisfaction, reduce costs and improve overall efficiency. According to IDC, 62% of businesses believe slow, manual processes are limiting their revenue. Are your processes limiting your company's growth?
Small businesses are particularly prone to retaining old systems in the mistaken belief that it's too costly to upgrade and improve. Unfortunately, Business Process Management (BPM), which was once considered a luxury that only large organizations could afford, is now considered a critical part of business operations -- regardless of business size. In fact, BPM may be even more important for small to medium size organizations if they want to stay competitive.
So, what is BPI, and why is it so important?
Business Process Improvement(BPI) is a field in operations management that focuses on improving performance by managing and optimizing an organization's business processes. Business processes are inherent to daily work flow. Business processes are sometimes thought-out and established for efficiency, consistency and order; but, just as often, an organization's processes have evolved over time without a lot of thought regarding their effectiveness. Thoughtful process optimization, with specific goals in mind can go a long way toward making any organization's operations more efficient, and less costly.
Process Optimization Requires Observation
It's not just a matter of purchasing a software solution or outsourcing a department. The first step is always to observe and record the way operations are conducted currently.
Hint: Even companies that are fortunate enough to have written job descriptions with detailed directions about the way tasks are to be handled often fall short of the goal in actual practice. Don't assume that just automating the process that's written in the employee handbook is going to improve efficiency. Talk to the employees who do the work. Strive to reduce unessential and duplicate steps. Take the time to get it right. You'll be glad you did!
If you already have an Enterprise Content Management system, you're one step ahead of the game. Integrating BPM, or workflow, with your Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system can dramatically improve the flow of information, saving valuable time and money. BPM workflow can:
- Automate document routing through business processes like HR and AP to improve efficiency.
- Improve information control with digital records, that never get lost or misplaced.
- Save money by moving information more quickly to decrease labor costs.
"The abilities to process business critical activities faster, reduce error and exception rates, and gain greater visibility into operational effciencies are seen as the greatest values gained from process improvement and automation." -AIIM, Process Improvement and Automation 2016
Increase Efficiency with Automation
The productivity of the entire organization benefits from process automation. In fact, 60% of businesses agree the only way to keep up with the increasing volumes of electronic content is with automation. Here are steps you can take:
- Route electronic information through business processes.
- Replace paper-based systems with electronic ones to improve efficiency.
- Define and update processes to eliminate unnecessary work steps.
- Automatically route documents through business processes electronically.
- Keep track of the status of contracts, invoices, and other important documents to improve business focus.
For specific recommendations about Business Process Management and Improvement for your company, contact Paper Alternative Solutions.