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Working More Efficiently: Part Two

Breaking Down the Process

In last week’s segment, we analyzed evaluating and defining the processes you’d like to improve within your business. Today we’ll be looking at how to break down those same processes in order to give yourself insight into how and where your company can operate more efficiently. 

Before you begin, ask yourself the following:
  • Have you had poor results that don’t align with your company’s original forecasting?
  • Has productivity slowed or come to a standstill?
  • Are costs higher than they should be?
  • Are profits lower than they should be?
Any affirmative responses should be met with a close analysis of the problem at hand (i.e. defining the process as you did in week one). Once you’ve pinpointed the issue, department or process that needs a closer look, it’s time to break down everything into several components and find the exact source of concern.

Breaking It Down

In order to narrow things down and get to the heart of the problem, you’ll need to isolate and analyze each component of the issue in question. This may include:
  • Employees involved
  • Equipment used
  • Forms and paperwork
  • Expected processes/policies versus actual processes/policies utilized
  • Chain of command
Let’s use last week’s example of customer service as a guide. You note that your client base is unhappy with the way their issues are handled by your customer service team, and yet you are unable to figure out why this is or how to fix it. On one hand, holding an all-employee meeting and re-visiting your customer service policy would likely not have the lasting effect you need to boost results and/or improve client satisfaction. On the other hand, revamping your entire customer service department would be a costly and unnecessary step toward working more efficiently. By addressing who is involved in the process, what materials they’re using throughout the process, and where they’re veering from your company’s policies, you’ll be able to address specific problem areas that need adjusting. 

While not a quick or easy task, breaking everything down into easy-to-assess categories will give you direct insight into the process. You’ll then be able to identify specific weaknesses and enact effective, long-lasting changes that will benefit your company in the long run.   

Return next week for an in-depth look at identifying and overcoming company weaknesses. 
 
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