Every company, at one time or another, has struggled with inefficiency. Sometimes, it’s simply a question of how the company has defined its departmental structure. Other times it comes down to how the company structures its work flow, how it lays out its operations and organizational hierarchy, and yet sometimes it’s merely a question of relying upon too many manual paper processes. Ultimately, delays become commonplace and the end result is a company that spends too much time struggling with redundant tasks. Unfortunately, it’s the company’s customers that end up paying the price for the company’s inefficiencies.
So what are some of the most common tools companies can use to help their business run more smoothly?
• Workflow Diagrams: Workflow diagrams are an essential tool to help eliminate bottlenecks in operations. The key is to map out the company’s operations by department and show how work moves between these departments. For instance, once of the more proactive approaches to using workflow diagrams is to start from a customer’s initial request for quotation. The focus must be to map out how that quotation is handled, how a proposal is submitted and how the customer’s order is handled once they decide to move forward. Ideally the workflow diagram should outline how that order moves between departments and how long it takes before that order is shipped to the customer.
• Spaghetti Diagrams: Similar to workflow diagrams, spaghetti diagrams are mainly focused on helping manufacturers eliminate down time on the shop floor. By mapping out the entire shop floor, a company is able to define how work moves from one station to the next. Along the way, the diagram helps to identify wasted time, redundant operations and time-consuming tasks. If managed properly, spaghetti diagrams can help a manufacturer increase their production volumes.
• Elimination of Manual Paper Processes: Sometimes the delays are so commonplace, and so obvious, that there is no other recourse but to focus entirely on eliminating paper processes. These paper processes have high error rates as individuals struggle to retain essential information. In this case, paper processes have high data entry errors, and it’s these error rates that impact how the company manages its operations.
• Redundant Signoffs: One of the biggest organizational issues is to have too many redundant operations, the kind of operations where multiple high level signoffs are required. While the idea is to mitigate mistakes, the end result means more time spend reviewing work as opposed to moving work to the next chain in the process. Redundant signoffs are often a result of a company having encountered quality issues in the past. As a result, the idea is to reduce these issues by having a series of checks and balances. Unfortunately, this does nothing more than add unnecessary time.
Companies looking to make their business run more smoothly must be willing to analyze how their operations are structured, and how those operations allow work to move amongst various departments. Relying too much on paper processes is problematic as paper processes have high error rates and are easily misinterpreted. Ultimately, it’s about tracking how work moves between employees, and between departments, and then identifying where bottlenecks are most likely to occur.
Sarah writes on behalf of a number of successful businesses in the South West including Drummond LLP bookkeeper Plymouth, Drummond LLP strive to deliver excellence and their service extends to the South West region. If you need a bookkeeper in Devon or Cornwall – Trust Drummond LLP to take care of all of your accountancy needs.