Most businesses could stand to improve their processes.
It’s not that businesses are purposely choosing to run ineffectively, they just don’t realize where they could boost efficiency.
For example, most organizations don’t realize that at least a third of activities for 60% of jobs could be automated. Just imagine what your company could achieve with all that extra time.
To understand where you could streamline operations, you need to dig into the different processes at play within your firm.
Here are a few examples of where to focus your business improvement efforts to achieve operational excellence.
Want to skip ahead to the most relevant process improvement opportunities? Click here:
- What are business process improvements?
- 6 business process improvement examples
What is a Business Process Improvement?
50% of organizations say they’re making a concerted effort to improve business processes. But what does this mean?
A business process improvement is an enhancement that refines business processes within your systems.
These processes could entail:
- Sales processes
- HR processes
- Purchasing processes
- Onboarding processes
- Plus many more
Improvement in this field usually starts with setting goals and targets. Then, you have to tweak actions within your existing process to actually meet those goals.
70% of organizations say their process improvement plan is focused on reducing costs and enhancing productivity. Additionally, 30% say they’re trying to improve customer satisfaction.
Another good reason to streamline processes is to put less on your team so that they can focus their attention elsewhere. Roughly 30% of organizations say they’re optimizing an existing process so they can create new product lines or enter new markets.
Here are a few other targets for business process improvements:
- Boost performance
- Speed up the process
- Cut out errors
- Decrease the number of staff involved
- Boost staff satisfaction
- Enhance supplier relationships
- Improve the end product
- Guarantee consistency in deliverables
6 Business Process Improvement Techniques to Apply to Your Business Right Now
Not sure what your business process improvement strategy should be?
Try looking at these improvement ideas to see how you could streamline these processes for continuous improvement across your business.
1. Speed Up Onboarding
22% of new employees are confused about what they need to do during the onboarding process. This creates a negative experience for the new candidate that could lead to employee turnover rates skyrocketing.
Those who don’t have a positive new hire experience are twice as likely to seek a different job opportunity in the near future.
Due to this, a third of senior HR leaders are trying to improve their candidate experiences for new employees.
To do this, you’ll need to consider how you can speed up the onboarding process and where you can make it easier for both the candidate and the HR department.
Additionally, firms with excellent onboarding processes are 1.6 times more likely to have a lower cost per hire.
When looking to improve your onboarding experience, perform a process analysis.
- Which activities take the longest?
- Where are candidates getting confused?
- What negative outcomes occur due to your current onboarding process?
- What procedures make it difficult to customize the process?
Once you understand where bottlenecks exist, you can begin to work out solutions that help remedy these issues.
Take Yves Rocher, for example.
After performing a process analysis on their onboarding process, Yves Rocher noticed that twice as many new staff were hired in peak season.
This caused a backlog in processing new candidates.
The result of this delay meant that some people would start working before payroll had been processed.
To ease pressure on the HR department, Yves Rocher now uses frevvo as their automated employee onboarding software to take charge of new candidate processing.
Now, staff can customize digital forms in minutes, speeding up the production of documents.
Thanks to auto-population and auto-validation features, there’s far less data entry for new candidates. That means employees can fill out all of their necessary documentation faster.
Forms are automatically routed to the correct departments for processing. This means uniform orders and payroll are dealt with immediately, while approvers can sign everything online electronically.
The result? Faster, error-free onboarding processes that ensure all staff have what they need to start working.
2. Streamline Contract Processes
The problem with a slow contract process is that it gives customers time to rethink the deal. This is why more than a third of salespeople cite the ‘time to sale’ as one of their biggest hurdles.
To get a signature on a contract faster, you not only have to speed up the process, but you also have to eradicate errors within that process. After all, incorrect or lost paperwork leads to a back-and-forth exchange that delays the result.
Switching from manual to digital contract processes can help remedy these problems. Organizations agree that using business process automation software like frevvo makes contract processes 92% faster.
Just look at Initial Saudi Group.
Previously, its contract process took up to 10 days.
The long wait times stemmed from the fact that all contracts needed to be manually approved by multiple parties. Everyone printed the paperwork, signed it, scanned it back in, and sent it on to the next person.
By switching to frevvo, Initial Saudi Group was able to digitize and automate its contract process.
Routing documentation using custom logic, contracts are now sent to the relevant approver automatically. Approvers are notified instantly and can sign documents electronically. Automatic reminders are sent out if approvers are late in signing documentation.
Using Frevvo, the contract process for this business went from 10 days down to six hours.
As the Head of Business Systems, Afzal Jandira, puts it: “The IT GM tasked me with automating this process in one week. After using the frevvo solution, he said it was one of the fastest solutions he had ever seen in his entire career.”
3. Condense the Sales Cycle
Ideally, you want to shorten your sales cycle and remove any complications for customers. This can help you get conversions quicker and reduce the time your customers have to rethink their purchase decisions.
To do this, focus your process improvement efforts on digitization and automation.
Take digital forms and e-signature technology, for example.
When salespeople, approvers, and buyers can all sign digital sales documentation electronically, they can complete sales from anywhere on any device. This is why roughly 1 in every 10 sales professionals claims that e-signature technology is their most important tool.
Now, consider sales automation.
A quarter of businesses agree that automation speeds up the sales cycle, while half believe that automating sales and marketing tasks will increase conversions.
In other words, if you want short sales cycles and more conversions, you need to consider which parts of the cycle can be automated.
For example, 36% of companies currently use automation to generate sales quotes. With sales order automation software like frevvo, you can automatically populate quotes with relevant data to speed up the process and reduce errors.
Let’s examine the case of the solar energy firm, Activ8, as a perfect example of this.
Previously, the Activ8 sales and installation teams had to fill out lots of paperwork on-site to generate a quote. This paperwork had to be handed to someone in the office manually, who would then email the customer a quote at a later date.
Not only were there lots of mistakes in the documentation, but the lengthy sales process also gave customers a chance to change their minds.
By switching to frevvo, the sales team created an on-the-spot quote calculator to give customers a full quote within minutes.
Thanks to dynamic digital forms and e-signature technology, sales teams can quickly draw up the relevant documentation for the customer to sign on site.
Salespeople can now take payments during the visit as well. That means sales go through immediately, with no more back-and-forth conversation with the sales office.
4. Optimize Purchasing Approval Workflows
One of the major factors that slow down the purchasing process is approval delays. Supervisors and managers are often so busy that they overlook purchase requests.
To remedy this and speed up the purchase approval process, you need to digitize purchasing and automate approvals with process improvement tools, like frevvo.
Right now, 70% of procurement professionals are making the switch to digital, whereas 20% of chief procurement officers regret not having switched already.
Not only does digitization enable you to exchange clunky manual procurement processes for dynamic digital forms, but you can also automate your approval workflows.
With purchasing approval workflow software, you can build complex conditional workflows that let you route to relevant approvers automatically based on your organizational approval structure and cost centers.
Approvers are automatically notified of new documentation, which they can sign electronically from any device. If approvers miss documentation, they’ll be sent a secondary reminder automatically.
This cuts out bottlenecks in the approval pipeline.
That’s how Central Wyoming College (CWC) streamlined its purchase approval workflow.
Before frevvo, CWC used paper purchase orders that approvers signed by hand.
Not only did staff often have to wait weeks for approvers to hand back paperwork, but documentation was also frequently lost.
With frevvo, CWC now automatically routes digital purchase orders to the correct approvers based on cost center codes.
This has significantly reduced the hours that staff would spend chasing approvals. Additionally, audit trails are now fully correct and complete.
5. Improve Financial Processes
Manual financial processes are not only slow, they’re also prone to error. This can lead to serious compliance issues when it comes to auditing financial records.
For example, 90% of invoicing is still done manually, which leaves lots of room for errors and delays. 12.5% of invoices need redoing since they’re incorrect, while 82.5% are paid late.
To enhance your financial processing, you need to accelerate the process while combating its error-prone nature.
Digitizing your financial processes will reduce errors in calculations, while improving your audit trail. It’s far easier to lose paper documents than digital records.
On top of that, automation can help to cut out errors and speed up the process.
With financial process automation software like frevvo, you can create dynamic digital forms and invoices, which automatically pull data from integrated databases to cut down on data entry and reduce errors.
What’s more, auto-validation features make sure all data is correct before routing financial documentation to the next workflow stage.
Thanks to automatic routing features, you can build complex workflows that automatically direct documentation to the correct approvers who can electronically sign documents right away.
From here, all documentation automatically uploads to your existing financial systems for perfect recordkeeping.
That’s why Hellman switched to frevvo.
Previously, the logistics firm had been using paper processes for workflows, such as credit authorization and cost allocation.
Not only was the process slow, clunky, and error-prone, the logistics company was worried about its security and a lack of access for remote teams.
frevvo offers a secure, cloud-based alternative that digitizes and automates all these financial processes.
Now, approvers can sign documentation from anywhere and track misallocated costs more easily. Plus, there are no longer errors or duplicate data. Everything is digitally filed automatically.
6. Streamline HR processes
Human resources departments are overworked. 97% of firms have fewer than five people working in the HR department, while 66% of organizations have just one person.
It’s no wonder that HR professionals cite being overloaded with paperwork as one of their biggest challenges.
HR staff members have to deal with new applications, vacation requests, expense forms, travel requests, timesheets, performance reviews, payroll, and more on a constant basis.
When paperwork is handled manually, it becomes a breeding ground for lost documentation, mistakes, and delays.
To optimize HR processes, you need to reduce paperwork where you can, integrate your HR systems, and speed everything up.
OSRAM did this by automating many of their HR processes with frevvo.
Their HR documentation was coming from multiple locations and needed approvals from many different sources. As a result, the entire department was getting overwhelmed.
With frevvo’s HR workflow software, the department now automates most processes, such as shift schedules and hourly compensation.
Staff can submit HR documents from anywhere on any device. These documents are then automatically routed to the appropriate supervisor who signs them electronically.
Not only are documents approved faster, integration with PeopleSoft means employees can auto-populate and auto-validate forms to complete all HR documentation correctly in mere minutes.
Start Improving Processes Now
Simply put, continual improvement helps to make your workflows run faster, smoother, and in a more cost-effective manner. By doing this, you’ll have happier staff, happier suppliers, and happier customers.
One of the best ways to upgrade your business processes is to digitize and automate your systems. You can then spend less time on repetitive tasks and ensure that processes will always follow the same pattern. This helps to deliver consistent results.
Every business needs continuous process improvement, especially if you’re still working with paper. If this sounds like you, try frevvo free for 30 days.