I am currently working with two different clients to optimize an order taking process and a billing process.
The ideal tool for optimizing a process is mapping. Which means to put on paper every stage of the process according to the persons in charge, to note delays, decisions and documents or systems involved.
It may sound complicated, but it isn’t at all. Just go through each step of the process and document everything.
It’s always magical to do this kind of exercise. There’s always nice surprises where you can quickly realize opportunities for improvement.
Today for example, in the billing process, we realized that for each file several invoices are issued, for many good and bad reasons. Like the famous reasons: “we always did it like that”.
I like to work with teams make them find opportunities to improve and simplify their process. People do not necessarily see these opportunities. When you can’t see the forest for the trees, having an external consultant can help you see the big picture.
Of course it’s important to map the process with the people who do the process and live it every day. Otherwise, you will not have the reality but perceptions of what is really going on. And you will not solve the real problems.
So once the mapping of the current process is done, it’s easier to see the opportunities, sometimes with a little help, but usually it is very clear for example when making multiple invoices for the same file.
The new process is then mapped, eliminating non-value-added tasks, reassigning tasks to other employees, reviewing forms or automating tasks with software, and so on. Like making a single invoice that includes all amounts on one document, instead of making several.
It is also important once the new process is decided to establish a plan of action to achieve it, with leaders and implementation dates for each action.
Following-up and training of the people involved in the new process is very important to ensure its successful implementation and monitoring. If you don’t, the change is likely to go down the drain and people will return to their old habits.
You now have the recipe to improve a process. So go! If however you need help do not hesitate to contact us.