Business efficiency can sometimes feel like an unattainable ideal. The modern corporation is a complex beast, after all, filled with numerous intertwining departments and workflows. Pulling apart these disparate workflows and finding a more seamless, automated process may seem like an exercise in futility at times, but with the promise of lower operational costs and healthier bottom lines, corporate leaders will continue reaching for business efficiency nirvana.
To achieve that lofty goal, however, companies first need to know where current bottlenecks exist within their various departments. Only once they've established comprehensive visibility across all of their internal workflows can businesses begin to effectively address inefficiency issues.
The unseen cost of workflow problems
Corporate decision-makers have good reason to doggedly pursue business efficiency: According to a 2015 Loudhouse survey of more than 500 global business leaders, 44 percent of respondents identified inefficient processes as the number-one cause of wasted time in the workplace.
How does that wastefulness translate to a company's bottom line and employee productivity? Speaking with The Washington Post in 2015, efficiency and workflow expert Edward G. Brown cited the example of workflow interruptions:
"Research has found that, in the financial services industry, interruptions can take up to 238 minutes a day," Brown told the Post. "Then you have to restart. That's the loss of another 84 minutes. That leads to inefficiencies like momentum loss, do-overs because of errors. Stress and fatigue cost another 50 minutes. That's 372 minutes, or 6.2 hours every day, or 31 hours a week – almost a whole person, in productive time lost."
You can't fix what you can't see
Realizing that something needs to be done about internal bottlenecks and workflow problems is one thing, but how can companies go about actually addressing these issues? Where do they even begin to look?
The first step to removing internal inefficiencies and optimizing business workflows is to identify where current bottlenecks exist in the first place. That's where workflow management software comes into play. These tools can help businesses gain the visibility they need to effectively monitor internal processes and spot potential problems.
Case in point: Inefficiencies abound in onboarding processes
Take onboarding, for instance. This seemingly straightforward process is anything but, requiring various departments to carry out tasks in a timely fashion to get a single new hire ready to contribute as quickly as possible. For example:
- Human Resources is tasked with conducting initial training.
- Facilities teams need to set up a functional workspace.
- Legal departments must get all necessary paperwork signed and documented.
That's just the tip of the iceberg, and this single process could drag on in any number of ways: A desk IP phone may not be configured properly, there could be a clerical error with the payroll paperwork, a training session may be rescheduled multiple times, legal forms could be misfiled, etc. Further bottlenecks may crop up if there's no clear-cut method of assigning individual onboarding tasks across different departments to avoid redundancy as well as ensuring they are carried out in proper succession.
"Optimizing workflows and improving business efficiency is a recipe for success."
All of these issues are a drag on business time and resources, and ultimately delay the onboarding process. The longer it takes to get a new employee up to speed, the more time will be needed to mold them into a valuable, contributing member of the organization. Despite the harm that such delays pose to businesses, they can easily be shrugged off in the moment as one-time incidents or "just the way things go" when there's no tool in place to monitor internal workflows and spot ongoing trends.
With workflow management software from Issuetrak, businesses have the visibility needed to spot precisely where bottlenecks crop up in their internal processes. Once company stakeholders have granular insight into their workflows, they can begin addressing the lingering issues that are preventing them from achieving a higher degree of business efficiency.
We all know that optimizing workflows and improving business efficiency is a recipe for success. Issuetrak workflow software can help your organization get over that initial hump of unearthing the most costly bottlenecks affecting your internal processes.