Every business would like to be more efficient and more profitable.
Developing a plan to reach those goals requires being honest about how your processes are currently running. Recognizing and admitting there is a problem is rarely easy, but here are a few more of the 10 basic clues to look out for that indicate your processes need more in-depth analysis and adjustment.
7. The process is not meeting KPIs.
KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators, help you understand how your organization or department is performing. In addition to having KPIs that track progress toward overall business goals, each process and its series of steps should have a set of KPIs that are well defined, quantifiable, and easily communicated to all employees.
Some common process KPIs that can help you determine the efficiency of your processes are:
Number of instances for the process (daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally)
Average time needed to complete each step of the process
Average time needed to complete each process in its entirety
Cost of process (each step of the process and the process in its entirety)
Want to learn a little more about KPIs? Check out our blog Track Your Metrics to Achieve Your Business Goals.
8. The process is reactive rather than proactive.
Does your business have processes in place that are designed to put out fires? Quick question… Why are you letting employees start fires? That seems irresponsible.
Reactive business processes respond to unanticipated (or anticipated but misunderstood) events after they occur, while proactive strategies are designed to anticipate and adjust to possible challenges.
Once upon a time, I worked for a hospital system that implemented new software. As Transactional Editing Coordinator, I reviewed and fixed all errors that employees generated when they entered claim information. Essentially, I spent all day putting out little fires that everyone else started. Slowly but surely, I retrained certain employees and adjusted some aspects of the software to ensure employees no longer had access to lighters. Once the claims had stopped burning, the hospital made more money.
9. The process generates the same customer complaints.
A critical KPI should be customer satisfaction. Customers should be provided an avenue for contacting you with complaints, which in addition to being handled immediately, should be documented to find trends. If you find that customers are complaining about the same thing, identify the process responsible for that outcome and trace it back to find the step where things start to go wrong.
When customers complain, your first response should always be to ask them, “How can we make this right?”
Then ask yourself and your employees, “How did we get this wrong?”