Streamlining a business is a way of making a business efficient.
Streamlining is important for whichever business sector your business falls under since it allows businesses to save costs and time. The ways to streamline, however, differ depending on several parameters. The type of business, budget, areas that require maintenance and streamlining, etc., are a few of the many.
For instance, a company facing challenges managing employees will benefit from an employee management software. Similarly, you need asset management software to manage assets like vehicles or other machinery.
Regardless of the business sector, there are key tips business owners need to keep in mind to make their business efficient. Using AI is one way to do so. In fact, 79% of executives believe that AI makes their jobs more efficient and simple. The article talks all about such tips. Let’s get to them.
1. Begin with process mapping
Streamlining a business is a broad statement. Narrow down the specific business process you want to simplify. Document steps to achieve that so that you exactly know what the process looks like and how to implement the required changes. Some processes may need more attention as compared to others and may be divided into sub-steps.
However, don’t make this process too complicated. It’s not as complex as you may think of it.
All you need is a pen and paper to document the steps and create a top-down view of the process. If pen and paper is too old school, consider creating flowcharts so that it’s easy to share with your team members and other concerned parties. Doing so helps you track real-time workflows as the associated team member can tweak or put suggestions in the process mapping.
To begin with, do the following:
- Know the areas in that employees currently face challenges by talking to them individually
- Identify the segment that most employees or other internal staff members find challenging
- Draw out a common solution to the recurring issues for that segment
- Involve the concerned members for suggestions and feedback
The key point is to involve the people who use the process regularly as they would know it better than you. For instance, if you’ve figured out that the invoicing needs to be streamlined, involve members from the accounts/finance team to come to a feasible solution.
2. Create a preventive maintenance schedule
If your business deals with fleet management or vehicles in any way, you must consider using a preemptive maintenance schedule. Preventive Maintenance (PM), along with improving fleet management, also optimizes uptime and increases vehicles’ lifespan. Moreover, the PM ensures that all your assets are safe and functioning.
Using PM benefits your business in the following ways:
- It helps you identify and fix potential issues with the assets before they become significant and cause downtime.
- Regularly maintaining any asset keeps it functional, improving its safety.
- It helps you save money in the long term by reducing the need for costly replacements and repairs and presenting fines and penalties for non-compliance.
- By ensuring that the equipment works properly, PM helps increase productivity and efficiency.
- It increases the overall lifespan of the equipment.
All in all, using a preventive maintenance schedule is a prominent part of keeping your equipment in working condition. Since it increases the efficiency of your business, you can then utilize the time and resources on other priority tasks.
When incorporating maintenance schedules, it’s essential to know that there are two types: corrective maintenance and preemptive maintenance. Corrective maintenance is unscheduled and usually done as a reaction to a failed item on equipment, while preventive maintenance, as the name suggests, is scheduled and presents failure to assets. Know your requirements and go for a solution that meets your needs.
3. Consider outsourcing work
Much of streamlining lies in delegating.
You may keep spending your time and efforts streamlining your invoicing, payment, or workflows without realizing the need to delegate. Outsourcing work comes to the rescue here. You can delegate operations, roles, or processes to a third-party workforce. It will streamline your existing workflow, save expenses, and boost productivity.
Employing a third party is usually not as costly as hiring a full-time or part-time worker since you’ll only be compensated for a specific service or work. While for a full-time employee, you may need to offer extra benefits like bonuses, increments, etc. Below are a few ways to figure out whether your business will benefit from outsourcing work:
- If you notice a lack of required expertise in specific teams
- If the demand is more than the resource
- If your business needs access to modern workflows
- If your business needs expansion
- If you want a cost-effective solution
Dig deep to discover the services you should outsource instead of investing in systems to streamline those. It’s a sure-shot way of doing less with more while continuing to grow. To identify the department that could benefit from outsourcing work and look for resources.
4. Train your staff
Effective maintenance over time leads to a successful business.
Your job isn’t over after finding a tool or maintenance software that’s best for your business. Once you find the maintenance management software, you must train your staff to use it effectively.
Training should cover more than just the technical aspects of the software but also customer service and problem-solving skills. When you invest in your staff’s training, you ensure that your maintenance operations run effectively and that your asset or equipment is maintained to the expected standard.
Training staff benefits your business in the following ways:
- An untrained staff might not be able to use the efficiencies of the software as they should so training is important to ensure the staff knows how to use software to its full potential.
- Training helps prevent errors in data entry and using other software features.
- It helps employees or users identify potential safety hazards so that they can report them to the concerned person
- It helps employees understand and follow the standard guidelines of using the software which maintains consistency across all maintenance tasks.
Moreover, regular inspections play a key role in any maintenance plan. They help you identify potential problems before they become major. Hence, inspections should be conducted regularly, and any potential issue identified should be addressed promptly.
5. Analyze the results, then set expectations
Workflow redesign and process optimization are often time-consuming. It’s certainly not a one-time thing. You need to hold the possible consequences and analyze the results strongly. Identify whether simplifying specific business activities is worth the time. In several circumstances, the projected return on investment doesn’t justify the actual expense.
Also, see how the new developments affect your employees’ dynamics. If you invest money into automation, can you reallocate other tasks to your employees? If you’re outsourcing work, are you getting the expected output? Such questions will prompt you to consider the type and areas in your business that require maintenance.
A few other ways to analyze the results are:
- Conduct weekly or biweekly inspections to see whether the operations are streamlined the way you or your team expected.
- Take regular inputs from employees who are using maintenance software.
- Try out two software at a time to save time and identify which one will benefit more.
- Hire an expert or research your competitors to know the tools they use to streamline specific operations.
Only after you identify the pain areas of your business could you make the right decision to purchase maintenance software. In general, it’s important to know how to choose the top software for your business, which is only possible when you know your business requirements.
Streamline your business today
Streamlining maintenance processes takes time. Incorporating enhanced operations into the existing system is not always a flawless process. Hence, it’s essential to go slow, involve your team members and focus on continual development.
Identify which aspects of your company need to be streamlined–employee management, administrative tasks, invoice or payments, or all of them. Once that is clear, it gets easier to focus on choosing streamlining solutions specifically for that segment. For example, if billing and invoicing are challenging, go for a management tool that takes care of this issue.
All the best!
Parita Pandya is an Engineer turned Writer. She usually finds herself writing for businesses. When she is not writing, she is either strumming her guitar or penning her thoughts down on paritapandya.com.