Boosting efficiency, cutting costs or streamlining workflows; whatever your objectives, business process standardisation could be the answer. But how can you ensure uniformity across all areas of your operation? And what benefits can you expect as a result?
In this guide, we’re exploring the what and the why of business process standardisation. We want to help you optimise your systems and enjoy the wealth of benefits such an audit can bring. Use the links below to navigate or read on for the full guide.
- What is Business Process Standardisation?
- What Are the Benefits of Optimising Systems with Process Standardisation?
- Key Business Areas to Standardise
- Best-Practice Tips for Business Process Standardisation
Business process standardisation is a means of ensuring that systems are uniform and standardised across an organisation. The goal is to ensure that every process and action is of value, with all functions within the business working towards the same objectives.
There are, of course, several ways to standardise processes across a business. However, the primary objective is to introduce a set of rules and protocols that all departments can look to when specific issues and situations arise – ensuring minimum downtime and effective resolution.
To guarantee optimum process standardisation, logical systems and workflows are required to streamline day-to-day activity across the business. This ensures that all functions and channels are operating within the same ruleset, for peak efficiency and ease of management.
Standardisation can be a tricky concept to bring to heel. Get it right, however, and you’ll enjoy a wealth of benefits, including:
- Peak output and productivity – thanks to your new best-way-of-doing-things approach, productivity and output will hit a new level, with every business function benefitting from streamlined workflows and processes. Greater productivity means richer cashflow and maximum ROI, too.
- Improved efficiency and cost savings – standardisation is all about removing red-tape policies and activities from your operation, freeing up teams to take an agile and efficient approach. This brings welcome cost savings in terms of reduced downtime and increased efficiencies, so you can better manage that bottom line.
- Greater transparency – a standardised approach at every level of the business means full workflow and project transparency, giving stakeholders a clear view of business activity, progress and bottlenecks. This transparency also means simpler project management, as well as accurate delivery and completion estimates.
- Effective interdepartmental collaboration – unified workflows and systems mean teams will find it easier to stay abreast of their counterparts. This encourages greater interdepartmental collaboration, with different functions able to contribute more readily to one another’s projects – driving growth and bolstering efficiency as a result.
- Simpler onboarding – with a unified system in place, onboarding new personnel becomes so much easier, requiring only that new recruits learn the ropes on one core system. This also facilitates greater scope for career progression, with colleagues able to switch departments and teams more easily should they be seeking a change in role.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the benefits you can expect by standardising business systems. It does, however, give you a taste for the advantages which come from optimising systems across the organisation.
While standardising every system is the preferred means of ensuring interdepartmental uniformity, this isn’t always possible. Instead, you may be limited to optimising processes across core functions only – a sound strategy for businesses unable to ensure absolute consistency across all systems and workflows.
But of all the systems to make uniform, which should you prioritise? Let’s take a look at four business areas you should standardise as a priority.
It’s impossible to overstate the benefit of a consistent, standardised database. Shareable and accessible across the business, standardised data sets allow all business functions to benefit from up-to-date insights, utilising the information to drive efficiency and growth in key areas.
Regardless of individual workflows and departmental processes, standardising systems can be a huge boon for resource-strapped businesses. Carefully selecting software systems which meet the needs of all departments will not only save money, but will bring a whole range of benefits in line with those listed above.
How are successes and failures measured across your business? And how easy is it for different departments to gauge the progress and achievements of other business functions? Aligning metrics is a great way to bring clarity to your business’ top-line statistics, highlighting the status and hit rate of different departments and functions.
What does a typical workflow look like within your organisation? And how do individual departments track, monitor and oversee the progress of different projects? Standardising how workflows appear across your operation will bring added transparency, and strengthen project management as a result.
Business process standardisation doesn’t happen naturally. Instead, you’ll need to determine the best and most efficient means of standardising workflows and systems, before investing in the appropriate tools and platforms to support this.
Here are some essential tips to consider when working towards business process standardisation.
- Lean on existing systems to ascertain the best route forward – are there any systems and workflows currently delivering optimal results for your business? Consider how current processes affect ROI and revenue, and liaise with teams to identify the best system solution for your needs.
- Set key targets to measure performance – before deploying a single system across your organisation, trialling different processes is a sound option. Use metrics, like ROI, revenue and project completion times, to measure the effectiveness of different standardised workflows.
- Gather pain points and challenges from key business functions – what are the drawbacks and pitfalls of current systems and workflows? And where do specific business functions believe that existing processes fall short? Gathering insight from individual departments will help you land on the right solution, which caters to all needs and requirements.
- Invest in the right tools, platforms and system architecture – whether you’re standardising data sets, processes or metrics, you need the right systems in place to support business uniformity. Platforms such as ERP software offer a consistent and uniform interface, allowing you to create standardised workflows across all priority business functions.
Have you enjoyed this guide on business process standardisation? For similar guides and features, be sure to take a look at the JS3 Global blog and newsfeed. If you’d like to learn more about our ERP consultancy services, visit the homepage or call us today on +44(0)161 503 0866.