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Working More Efficiently: Part Four

Standardizing and Sustaining

Working more efficiently within your business is not something that happens overnight. Rather, it is a process that requires you to step back and evaluate your current structure, break down each and every component, and identify specific weaknesses. Once you’ve accomplished all of the above, you are ready to implement standardized, sustainable improvements that will benefit your company’s productivity for the long term.

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Standardize

The whole reason you’ve taken the time to step back and reassess is that one of your systems is not working for your business and will ultimately need to be replaced with a new and improved method. Any improvements you implement to optimize your business operations should be standardized across the board. Here’s how this can be accomplished:

  • Standardize any instructions relating to departments involved, timing, and paperwork.
  • Lay out a list of step-by-step procedures for every new process.
  • Speak to your staff frequently to ensure that new methods are being followed.
  • Utilize company-wide checklists to limit deviations from the new status quo.

Sustain

Now that you have put a significant amount of work into bettering your systems, you will want to make these improvements work for you well into the future. Do not, by any means, let your efforts fall to the wayside by reverting back to your old bad habits. You will need to establish a new status quo by communicating regularly with your staff, assessing your updated systems, and tracking results. For example, if you have created a new script for your customer service representatives, make an effort to be present during employee calls. Variations from the new method should be addressed and corrected immediately. Remember: it was your previous poor habits that impeded your success in the past, and adherence to new methods must be made mandatory if you are in search of sustainable, long-term success. 

Standardizing and sustaining new practices may not be easy feats, but both can have tangible, lasting benefits for your business. It is far too easy to fall into old habits – the very same habits that caused you to re-assess your processes in the first place. Make your changes work for you by standardizing new methods and communicating with all involved parties on a regular basis.

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