5 Useful Tips for Streamlining Your Processes and Workflows
By Mark Adams | Published November 29, 2021
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Business users execute a series of steps daily to accomplish different processes. Business workflows are typically repeatable and occur whenever data is passed between humans or between humans and a system.
Additionally, workflows define the path for accomplishing something within an organization, whether transforming data from one format to another or turning raw material into a finished product. Learning to streamline your workflow processes puts your organization on a path to better efficiency.
What Does it Mean to Streamline a Process?
Workflows help ensure that we get essential processes right every time. Remember, a workflow only describes the step taken to execute a task. A process can encompass a lot of different things. For example, many companies have business processes to help onboard new employees. That can include ensuring workers turn in all required forms or receive packets discussing their benefits.
So, what's the meaning of "streamlining processes"? You remove unnecessary steps or manual work when you streamline business processes. For example, a company can simplify invoice creation by ensuring the process consistently executes the same steps. That way, anyone who needs to perform that function for the business can run the workflow the same way each time.
When you take the time to streamline workflow procedures, you reduce the risk of making critical mistakes. For example, adding a step to the onboarding business process workflow that accounts for conducting a background check helps protect a company from bringing in someone with red flags in their background. Other areas where organizations often streamline process workflows include:
- Automating follow-up emails for marketing
- Ensuring smooth product delivery in operations
- Resetting passwords for users within IT
- Discovering and managing assets throughout an enterprise
- Project managers send task notifications for projects
- Compliance area issuing for documentation purposes
By taking the time to streamline workflow automatically, businesses can handle large quantities of information consistently. That improves operational efficiency and ensures workers spend as little time handling tedious manual work as possible.
What Are the Benefits of Streamlining Workflows?
Using a platform like Integrify to streamline business processes helps reduce errors, speed progress, and enforce accountability across business units. Getting rid of unnecessary work helps employees feel more engaged with their jobs. Other advantages an organization can gain if they decide to streamline processes and workflow include:
- Improving communication and coordination among teams
- Boosting efficiency, agility, and productivity across the organization
- Helping businesses comply with industry standards
- Outlining the hierarchy of who holds responsibility for different tasks within a workflow
- Simplifying employee training
How to Streamline Your Workflow
1. Examine and catalog your current processes
The first step in developing ways to streamline business processes is listing each step and analyzing each. That includes understanding how different business processes work in various areas of your company.
Next, deep diving into your current business functions helps you know where you may be going wrong and identify opportunities for improvement. Make sure you speak with process owners and those performing the work. Incorporate their feedback into enhancements you wish to make to current business functions.
In addition, you should gather and review all supporting documentation to gain clarity on all supportive steps. Look for factors that hamper the effectiveness of the current process. Finally, look for ways to fill gaps and improve the current workflow.
2. Break the process down into smaller steps
Once you understand the current business function, you can start breaking it into more manageable pieces. The more you can simplify your workflow procedures, the better your chances of streamlining the entire business process. Keep going until you find a path to achieving your desired outcome.
3. Establish work priority
Reorganize each process based on its importance to the company. Then, come up with a ranking procedure that works for you. For example, you can rate each business process on a scale of 1 to 10, with items labeled as one having the highest priority. That way, you can adequately maintain your workflow and consistently achieve ideal outcomes after each completion.
4. Maintain documentation
Regardless of their experience or understanding, no one can remember the steps or procedures of every process workflow. That's why it’s essential to lay out every step needed to carry out the work in each step effectively. It doesn't always have to be outlined in a formal document. All it takes is having a notepad next to you to outline each step within a current workflow.
Make sure you capture what's happening and provide evidence of what's occurring. That way, you can ensure streamlined workflows function as they should without unexpected issues cropping up.
5. Automate workflows
Once you've accurately captured all the steps necessary to carry out a business process, turn that information into automation using a work management solution. Integrify's workflow builder makes it easy for users to turn their research into automated workflows that carry out essential business functions.
6. Test out the new automated workflow
Once you've turned your documentation into an automated workflow, test it out and evaluate the effectiveness of your improvements. Watch how it functions in a live business environment. Make modifications as needed to ensure that it works properly.
Once you're satisfied with how your workflow functions, start rolling it out across relevant business areas. Make sure that workers understand the changes underway to understand how it benefits their role in the company.
Streamline Your Workflows with Integrify
Use Integrify to make your organization more efficient by using our platform to build automated business workflows. Contact us today to set up a live demo.
Mark Adams is a freelance writer in the technology space who specializes in productivity and workflow. Mark is based in Portland, OR.