Whatever size your business is, efficiency is always paramount. You want your workflows and procedures to be as streamlined as possible to maximize profit. Here are six changes you can make to improve your business’s efficiency.
Repetitive tasks are an unfortunate reality of many workflows. Whether you need to schedule meetings or do data entry, these kinds of tasks can slow workflows to a crawl. The good news is, many of these tasks can be automated, allowing the people who used to perform them to focus on other work and better manage their time. You can also automate many more processes than you realize. For example, Sales Force automation can greatly streamline your continuous delivery workflows. This doesn’t mean no one will need to do any work in SalesForce. It just means the background tasks, such as work assignments, scheduling and data delivery can be conducted automatically.
2. Employ Technological Tools
You can’t automate everything, but you can utilize tools to help speed up workflows. These include scheduling applications, accounting and data entry software to help people input data more quickly and centralized databases. Centralized databases are particularly useful for documentation. Rather than forcing employees to share different versions of files and documents via email, you can implement a centralized database to ensure employees have access to the most recent forms of documents. You can also leverage a database to allow different employees to work on one document together, increasing collaboration.
3. Consolidate Tasks
Consolidating certain related tasks into batches can be a good method of improving efficiency, too. This can be done in software, by developing and deploying related content in batches. This way, your developers can focus all their energy on one aspect of a product or software solution. Alternatively, it can be done in your schedule. This strategy involves you blocking off parts of your calendar to work on related tasks. You could block off days where you’re unavailable for meetings and spend those days focusing on other work. You could also block off certain parts of your days to dedicate to certain tasks, such as an hour in the morning for emails and following up, then several hours coding and then schedule your meetings at the end of the day.
4. Make Sure Goals Are Achievable
It can be easy to set nebulous or unrealistically complex goals. You should break big goals down into smaller, more easily manageable ones to make them more achievable. Small goals can feed into larger ones and then once all those smaller goals are reached, your employees will realize the larger, more intimidating goal has also been achieved. You want goals to be tangible and easily understood so employees don’t get discouraged attempting to reach them.
5. Ask for Feedback
Keep in mind, different people will have different ideas about efficiency and how to improve it. To optimize your efficiency journey, you should request feedback from employees across your organization. This way, you’ll see where people working in various departments think workflows are too slow and can receive creative brainstorming to develop solutions for specific departments and for your whole organization.
6. Encourage Open Communication
One of the biggest stopgaps for efficiency is an issue with communication. Your organization may have communication issues for a variety of reasons. Maybe databases aren’t centralized enough. Perhaps departments are too siloed. Employees might even chronically put off replying and following up out of discomfort with confronting someone or a desire not to disturb someone from his or her work. Whatever the reason, you should combat this by encouraging open communication. Direct managers to implement open-door policies for their teams. Encourage inter-departmental feedback and collaboration. These strategies can improve employee morale and encourage them to voice constructive criticism, thus improving productivity overall.
When you’re looking to improve efficiency in your business, you can’t just focus on one thing. Often, improving efficiency is an enterprise-wide task. Make sure you analyze your whole business and determine where efficiency looks like it needs to be improved.