“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new” – Socrates.
Every business should aim to optimise their time and operational productivity using best practices. One important aspect to consider when using the various methods available to do so is the employee’s user experience when performing their duties.
Sage research has found that businesses spend approximately 120 operational hours a year on administrative tasks. Almost 20% of these can be attributed to accounting administration, such as the generation of purchase orders, invoicing and reconciliations.
If other administrative tasks are added to this, such as signing off delivery receipts and truck manifest documents, as well as registering suppliers, it is easy to see how these tasks can have a direct impact on the business’ ability to perform at an optimal level (where all hours are used as efficiently as possible). So how does one streamline these tasks?
To save on costs, and eliminate unnecessary manual administration, follow the steps outlined below:
Step One: Identify Administratively Inefficient Workflows.
In any business, the first step is to identify and define the problem. This can usually be done quite easily through effective user interviews or by simply observing business operations. The main goal here is to map out all time consuming administrative processes and target these for change optimisation.
Typically, one should look for the following:
- Manual capturing of data
- Duplication of efforts
- Lack of lateral access to information (bottlenecks)
- Frustrated stakeholders
Step Two: Define the Business Case Using a Systematic Approach to Office Automation.
Now that inefficient processes have been identified and targeted, one can put forward an approach to improving them. There are many ways to improve an inefficient process, but using a flawed approach at this stage of the “solution exploration” could cause more problems than solutions.
Here are a few pointers one should be mindful of:
- Resources (in-source or out-source)
- Methodology (i.e. how is the business looking to solve the problem?)
- Hardware infrastructure upgrade — this refers to the purchase of hardware that is more user-friendly or efficient.
- Software infrastructure upgrade — this refers to the implementation of software packages and/or other office automation technologies that will minimise the time spent on administrative duties. These include the digitisation of workflows, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technologies and bespoke software solutions.
- Skills development/training — sometimes processes are inefficient because of a lack of staff training or the improper use of existing systems. It is important to eliminate this possible factor before making the assumption that capital expenditure (CAPEX) is required.
- Return on Investment (before any change optimisation exercise takes place, one must establish benchmarks and complete an “optimised situation” analysis so that the project can be tracked correctly).
Step Three: Use Project Management Principles to Execute Business Process Optimisation.
Whether one is in-sourcing or out-sourcing a solution for business process optimisation, it is necessary to track the success (or lack thereof) of the project using project management principles. Once a person has been identified as the owner of the project, he/she must be answerable at all times for mapping out the process, educating all stakeholders, providing ongoing progress, and eventually reporting on what the tangible outcomes are for the business.
Green Office is a leader in managed print services (MPS) and an award company specialising in office automation and print reduction solutions. Get in touch with us to find out more about how we use our managed print services to optimise workflows and streamline business processes.
For more details on an office solution, contact us directly.