Perhaps your company originated as a one- or two-person startup. If that was the case, you remember all too well how many roles you had to assume at first and how many different tasks you had to take care of. As your company grows, you’re better able to acquire the tools and personnel you need so that you, yourself, aren’t trying to do everything, but can focus more on key business objectives.
The problem is, when processes are allowed to develop organically, without planning, they can end up feeling “cobbled together,” and though they may get the job done, they may be inefficient. Making the transition from patched-together processes developed out of necessity to controlled processes developed thoughtfully and with an eye to goals and objectives is an important maturity milestone for any business. Here are some thoughts on transforming your business from patchwork quilt to controlled processes.
Processes Across Departments Go Together to Accomplish Main Business Objectives
Whether your main business objective is “sell shoes,” “write software,” or “install plumbing,” it takes more than just those core practices to meet your goals. You may have a payroll department, accounts receivable, an IT department, and a transportation department, for example. But, while getting payroll correct doesn’t directly affect the quality of your pipe-fitting work, it can be enormously important in ensuring you’re able to hire and retain the right people. The computer hardware and software you use to run your clothing retailer may not “care” what the popular styles are this season, but they ensure you are able to acquire them and deliver them to stores on time.
Departments Typically Are Responsible for Multiple Processes
Likewise, multiple processes exist within each department. Perhaps the best example of this is the human resources department. HR is involved in recruiting new employees, getting them onboard, ensuring the company complies with laws and regulations, and dealing with conflicts and other issues that affect employees. To accomplish everything that has to be done requires processes that make sense and that make use of technology and personnel optimally. An HR department run on pieced-together processes won’t be efficient or as effective as it could be. The same is true for the IT, graphics, and marketing departments too.
Process Control Comes After Process Monitoring
Most companies could stand to improve processes, but knowing how to orchestrate process improvement efforts requires monitoring and understanding processes. It involves figuring out why a particular process ended up more complicated than it has to be and what steps can be taken to simplify and streamline it.
The first, and perhaps most important step in process control and optimization is understanding individual processes end-to-end. When you have this level of visibility, it’s easier to determine which process changes will have the greatest impact and what you’ll have to do to implement them.
Process Control and Regulation Are Within Your Capabilities
Don’t make the mistake of thinking process control is only for huge enterprises or companies with deep pockets. Monitoring processes can frequently help you discover ways they can be improved without incurring significant costs. Even small businesses can afford cloud-hosted workflow software that allows the automation of forms and processes, resulting in increased efficiency.
PerfectApps is workflow software that lets you optimize any business process, from simple to complex, across any and all departments. Many companies find that, once they use PerfectApps to, for example, transition expense reporting forms from paper to electronic format, they’re inspired to automate and streamline all sorts of other processes, like new employee onboarding or delivery of IT services.
PerfectApps is designed with the non-technical user in mind, providing an intuitive, drag-and-drop interface that allows non-programmers to create beautiful electronic forms. You can even make them look identical to the paper forms you now use so that the learning curve is minimal as people transition to the electronic version. What’s more, PerfectApps makes it just as simple to link forms and steps together into automated workflows that are fast, less error-prone, and easier to audit than manual processes. We invite you to have a look at the PerfectApps demo. You’re sure to be inspired to find ways to turn awkward, cobbled-together processes into sleek, efficient workflows.