When you run a business, it is in your interest to make it run as smooth as possible. After all, one of the main goals you are trying to achieve is increasing profit. You can only achieve this through a consistent streamlining of your business’ operations. This process is much simpler than it at first seems to be. Streamlining your business is nothing more than an ongoing reduction of waste – in all its forms. As long as you are removing all the wasted elements of doing business, you can be sure that your business will flourish. This is an approach which benefits any business of any size or age. Yet, it is particularly effective when it is done in the early stages of setting up a business. In this case, it is less ‘streamlining’, and more about starting the business off on the right foot. Either way, these are valuable techniques which can be applied successfully to any business in need of them. Let’s dive in and take a look at them now.
Put Someone In Charge
First things first, we need to look at how to successfully pull off a streamlining operation. The key to ensuring success here is to put someone in charge of the whole process. Who this might be depends hugely on your company and what kind of position it is currently in. One thing is for certain, however. Having someone to lead the way makes a world of difference. You want to promote someone who is dedicated, hard-working, and able to inspire others through their actions. It would also be a great help if they were Lean Six Sigma certified. This is a methodology for reducing wastage in all its forms – and it is proven to be highly effective. You can view it at http://www.simplilearn.com/quality-management/lean-six-sigma-green-belt-training to find out more.
Whoever you choose to lead the way, you must first ensure that they know their stuff. Test them on their knowledge before you proceed. They should be adept at handling and reducing the eight major types of waste in business. These are: time, inventory, motion, waiting, over-production, over-processing, defects, and skills.
One of the first steps that you should take in streamlining your business is to automate some processes. This is a deceptively effective and efficient method which takes care of almost every type of wastage there is in business. You do not necessarily want to automate everything, of course. But it will certainly help operations to operate some. How do you work out which to automate, and which to leave alone?
In truth, you should be automating anything which doesn’t require a human ‘stamp of approval’. You can make this your first task in streamlining. For each process your business is engaged in, you can ask yourself whether it needs to be done by human hands. If the answer is no, then you can happily automate it.
However, it is not just a matter of automating processes. You also need to integrate those processes. If you have separate systems for carrying out two related tasks, then you need to look into that. It might be possible to combine them into one system. This will save your business even more time – and money – than keeping them separate. The ultimate goal here is to reduce wastage – and that includes wasted time. Anything done by hand which could be automated is a waste of both time and skills. You can see more on this here: http://operationstech.about.com/od/costsavingstrategies/a/StrmlnBusiness.htm
Some elements of doing business are wasteful not just for you, but for everyone. A good example of this is travel. Many businesses the world over waste a huge amount of resources on travel. The fact is, most of the time, the travel doesn’t need to occur. If you are serious about streamlining your business, then this is something you should look into early on. On the face of it, this can seem like a pretty difficult one to change. However, it can be quite simple.
There are many common cases of wasted travel in business. You might, for example, find yourself travelling huge distances to have meetings with other directors. If this is the case, propose a change to your colleagues. You could, for example, use a video conferencing service instead. That way, you cut out the travel altogether. This saves the company a whole heap of money, and the environment a lot of carbon. This should be considered an essential step for any business which wants to consider itself a force for good in the modern world. View more on this topic here: http://www.businessinsider.com/7-ways-to-reduce-business-travel-expenses-2013-3?IR=T
Communicate & Collaborate
When it comes to the workflow in the office, you want it to be as smooth as possible. There is only a certain amount you can control regarding this. However, there is still plenty that can be done to keep things going well. And when it comes to operating on a streamlined basis, there is a lot you can do.
This is by far where most of the wastage occurs in any business. It is one of the hardest ones to pin down, simply because of the nebulous nature of it. It can also sometimes be difficult to spot what is going on under your very nose. Streamlining the workflow in the office is quite a daunting task for any manager. However, with the right attitude and a little patience, it can be achieved quite readily. The most important aspect of this process is to encourage open communication between all employees. If you think about it, this makes perfect sense. Most of the wasted effort and time in business comes from people not communicating properly. If you put a stop to this early on, you will be doing your business a huge favour.
Ultimately, what you are going for is a collaborative style of working which encourages the easy flow of information. That way, you can be sure that no action is wasted. Everybody is doing what they need to be doing, when they need to be doing it. That is a solid working definition of a streamlined business.