Five ways to improve your processes to increase your productivity

You’d be forgiven for thinking you should be running a really productive business. After all, you’ve hired staff to deliver the work. You’ve invested in systems to process orders. And you have clients lined up and waiting to work with you.

So why does it feel like you’re always chasing your tail, missing deadlines, and checking in on what your staff are up to? The answer: you don’t have the right processes in place, and it’s having a negative effect on your productivity.

It’s a question we’re always asked when we meet a new business: ‘how can you help us to be more productive?’. When the Propolis team step through your doors, one of the first things we do is observe how you work. Every business is different. However, there are five changes we often spot that a company can make to improve processes to increase productivity – and profits.

  • Manage your inquiries

Every business wants leads, and it’s great you’re getting them. But are you responding to them quickly and efficiently enough? A poor process damages productivity, as you’re wasting time that could be spent delivering the customer’s order, and attracting more clients. Instead, you’re risking losing business.

Make a clear inquiry management process part of your marketing strategy. That way, every customer is responded to quickly, efficiently and productively, so you can move on to the next inquiry with confidence – and a sale.

  • Assign task ownership

You may be running a busy company that’s winning new business. But when your team is under pressure, it’s easy for them to drop the ball. They’re rushing, they’re not communicating well, and your customers are being long-forgotten in an email inbox that builds up and up. But who’s responsibility is it to fix it?

Making it clear who’s in charge of which task gives your team the space to think that improves their productivity. With clear ownerships of activities, customers are responded to quickly, orders communicated through the business, staff have better focus, and nothing is left undone – or duplicated.

  • Improve your software

It’s likely you’ve invested in a great new software system for your company, designed to make tasks quicker and your life easier. Yet if you haven’t had the time to understand the systems, or find out how to best use them, they become a huge burden.

With the right system training, your team won’t need to spend additional time working out how to use software. There’ll be fewer errors, a simpler process, and quicker ways of working to enhance overall productivity.

  • Reduce your waste

Waste is one of the biggest productivity problems any company faces. To understand why, let’s look at an example. In your factory, you might find small screws fall to the floor as an accepted loss from your production line. They’re small, they’re ineffective, and they’re cheap. So why does it matter?

Every screw that’s picked up adds unnecessary time to someone’s day. Processing the waste needs an administrator to organise, an operator to dispose of, and an accountant to audit. What seemed like a minor issue suddenly takes time, costs money, and ultimately has a negative effect on your productivity. Solve it, and your productivity will rise.

  • Make day-to-day tasks easier

You certainly don’t want colleagues chained to their desks. But take a look at your office, warehouse or factory floor, and the way it’s set-out. Do you have multiple workstations for employees to move between to access machinery? Is there a need for people to zig-zag around factory floors to find products they need?

An employee walking 15 metres between workstations may not sound a lot. But add this up throughout the day, and multiply by the number of employees you have, and it becomes clear you can make changes to save time and increase productivity.

It can be a challenge to measure an increase in productivity, especially if there are a lot of people involved throughout your processes. Key performance indicators (KPIs) really help here. They’re not just buzzwords thrown around; rather, they make a real, tangible difference to how productive your operations are. They help you understand what’s going on, which targets to meet, and see the opportunities to improve the productivity levels that increase both customer service and company profit.

For help getting started, talk to us at Propolis Process Solutions. We’ll take an experienced, objective look at your company and how you operate. Then, we’ll put processes in place to boost your productivity and your profits. To find out more, contact Sarah: sarahvb@propolis-ps.co.uk.