Improving efficiency in the workplace is a key goal for many businesses, but where should you start? The first thing to consider is how you could improve established workflows and processes within your company, whether this involves manufacturing, sales, delivery or something else. By looking to improve workflow efficiency specifically, you’ll gain a greater insight into how the whole workforce completes tasks and can utilise this data to make the workplace more efficient and productive.
Experts from Syntax share 6 practical ways to improve workflow efficiency within your business.
Take a business workflow inventory
First things first, make a list of every process across all departments, documenting and defining these as you go. Talk to your employees, ask them about the workflows followed on a daily or weekly basis and make note of the purpose of each of these, as well as the team members involved. As you are documenting workflows, make sure you also seek feedback from employees to determine what you could be doing better.
Once you’ve identified and documented the workflows within your business, rank them in order of importance. This will enable you to properly prioritise work and achieve greater efficiency, as you can focus on streamlining the most important processes first. You may also find that employees can spend less time completing low priority tasks in future.
Identify key areas of focus
Now is your chance to look for opportunities to improve. Ask yourself if certain processes are causing delays, frustrating employees or are simply too costly, and consider how you could make changes to these. Once you’ve identified factors that are causing issues, work with your team to come up with a new strategy and design a new and improved version of your work process.
Automate the work process
Workflow automation is a powerful tool in the workplace, with specialised software being used successfully in many businesses to track and manage workflow. This software can help businesses streamline their processes, offering simple tools to facilitate communication and minimise the risk of data errors. Investing in work management software can help you move things along the workflow, notifying employees who have work to do and allowing managers to easily check on the status of each task.
Communication should be viewed as a help to the workflow rather than a hindrance, as improving communication within the business can reduce your team’s workload in the long term. Employees should be encouraged to make suggestions to improve workflow, as they may be able to identify issues that would otherwise be overlooked. You could also improve communication by introducing something simple like a productivity app or instant chat service within the business, enabling various teams to stay in the loop on important projects and provide input when needed.
Test your new workflow
It’s unlikely that you’ll get things perfect first time, which is why it’s important to spend time testing and refining any newly improved workflows. Elements of the business may change over time and call for new additions to be made to a work process, while other tasks within a workflow may become redundant and can be removed entirely to save time and resources.
Kanban is a workflow management tool that can help you better visualise your work and get more done with less stress. Implementing a Kanban system means you’ll be better equipped to track projects, improve communication across the business and speed up the time taken to complete workflows.
At the core of the Kanban strategy is the Kanban project board, which can be used to make work processes explicit and communicate how tasks should be completed. It also allows employees to check the status of individual tasks and give feedback on the workflow in question. This means you can avoid bottlenecks and easily assign work, making it easier for everyone involved.