Business is changing so rapidly today that tomorrow never seems to arrive

Business leaders are always looking for new ways to promote, focus and drive their businesses. But did you know that administration processes can account for significant additional profit (or loss) within your business?

The cost of improving your processes could provide the 10% growth your business is looking for next year. Being more efficient drives growth – you have more time to be more productive.

In world of work we are always looking to move forward, never back and certainly not the dreaded sideways. However, sometimes looking at what has passed, or even just slightly left or right, might just be the best answer. Stepping back from the day-to-day grindstone allows us to see where we are going or even where we need to be.

Our inability to do this can prove costly. It’s one reason businesses change systems but not processes, and wonder why introducing a new CRM, Accounts or ERP system hasn’t driven the savings or improvements they were expecting.

Every time we change a system we open our minds to new ways of doing things. But do we really?

Changing the way we work is and always was a real issue, that needs more than a passing glance.

Digitise, automate or add to a bad process, and the fundamentals of the process won’t change. The “bad” part is still there.

Having spent over 20 years advising businesses to look at how they work and not why they work, or even what systems they need to work, I have seen a multitude of different business processes. In that time I have never seen a single “bad” process become a good or efficient process by just automating it or adding software to manage it.

Bad is bad and good is good.

So here are 5 easy steps to help you when making improvements to any business process:

1. Be honest with yourself (you know something is wrong)

2. Ask a friend or colleague who has no idea how you work, to look at how you, your team or department works.

3. Accept what they have said.

4. Get some professional advice based on the findings.

5. Don’t skimp on the solution. This doesn’t mean find the most expensive, this means find the most relevant – not the cheapest (although it could be).

In summary, step back, ask for some help and listen. The key to finding out if your processes need attention is getting someone who doesn’t normally perform that job function to see if they would work that way. If the answer is no, then you have to look at why – the chances are it’s just that you have always done it that way.

Every one of us develops over time and so does your business. If I ask a member of my team how they work, they give me the headlines. If I ask them if they work in the most efficient manner possible, they tell me yes. But If I ask them to show me ‘exactly’ what they do, will it be efficient? In business we have a tendency to go for the headlines and not the detail. In checking your business is running as well as it should, it’s the details you are after.

In short, if you have the time to lift your head from the day to day of what you are trying to do, don’t look for a solution to your problem, look at the problem to find your solution. Remember that extra 10% profit you are looking for could already be there.

Stewart Wright, Managing Director, YourDMS

Stewart Wright has over 20 years in the Document Management industry offering extensive senior management experience, delivering high quality products and services.

Working with companies such as Invu, Abbyy, Draycir, Complytrax, Microsoft and Fujitsu to deliver business critical software and solutions to organisations from 3 to 3000 users, YourDMS provides bespoke, efficient document management solutions to companies seeking to reduce costs by improving their data capture, workflows, print reduction and email management.