Identify your workflow weaknesses

Determine whether your business needs a bespoke software system by working through the following steps.

See how efficient your current workflow is

The route to finding the weakness in your workflow is to follow the route a process takes from start to finish and note what is performed at each stage to determine if there any points which cause a bottleneck.

It can often be quite difficult to pinpoint a weakness as you’re relying on your staff to bring it to your attention. Some may be reluctant to ‘rock the boat’ and say everything is fine when, in fact, they may actually be frustrated with how they have to handle a task. This then gives you a false impression that all is okay when the opposite is true.

This is where we come in.

As an outside company we can discuss and observe your processes with you to identify the areas which you believe are causing issues. Its often beneficial if we can have a friendly chat with your staff about what they need to do and what they believe can be improved. This informal chat enables the staff member(s) to relax and from here we can find out if there’s anything which is causing them problems and involve them in exploring possible solutions.

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Identify which tasks take longer than they should

Sometimes its quite easy to pinpoint a bottleneck. Perhaps whenever Bob is on holiday things slow down, maybe because Bob has been there so long that what is actually a quite complicated series of tasks becomes second nature to him.

Take Bob out of the equation and Jane, Phil and Sarah struggle to perform the same tasks. So, why is this? It could be that old (or complicated) software is being used which no-one else is familiar with. When you don’t understand something sometimes its easier just to let Bob carry on with it so when Bob’s away… things fall apart.

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Note any duplication of tasks

Quite often, whilst a business has evolved, the administration processes haven’t. Maybe customer details were added to Excel at first, then an accountancy package was brought in which needed the same customer details to be added. Another program was added to handle (as an example) training courses which needed the same details added.

Now you have three systems all recording the same information.

What happens when a customer changes address? You simply log into your software (or open Excel) and change it. But has it been updated across all systems? These are all weaknesses which have the potential of disrupting your business.

What if the address wasn’t updated in the invoicing system? The customer isn’t receiving invoices any more, so they can’t pay them. And you need them paid.

Now you have to trawl through the entire process and find out why they aren’t getting the invoices, all the while taking precious time away from your staff who need to handle their day-to-day workload as well as find what went wrong.

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See if anything stops you from operating the way you want

Software and online web applications are great. For example, QuickBooks give you a large amount of control over your invoicing whilst other applications may enable you to track projects or generate quotes.

There’s only one thing wrong with them. They’re designed to cover a wide range of needs and whilst its great to have choice, its also incredibly frustrating if they don’t do exactly what you need.

For example, imagine a project management system. It lets you upload documents, track your projects and generate a simple invoice.

However, you may have a problem such as…

  1. It doesn’t follow your project reference convention, for example you may use 123TT54B which represents your client ID, the sales person initials and an internal numbering system. All you can do is create numerical projects – 123456.
  2. It doesn’t allow you to mix vatable with non-vatable services/products, or perhaps convert £ sterling with $ USD at the current rate.
  3. You can’t adapt the invoice template the way you want it, perhaps your logo is distorted or there’s not enough room for your terms of business.
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Ask your staff if they feel frustrated with the current system(s)

Its not uncommon for staff to keep quiet about things which frustrate them, they don’t want to rock-the-boat or be seen as complaining all the time. They just keep quiet and (begrudgingly) carry on as they always have done.

Simply asking if there’s any way to make their day-to-day activities easier can uncover a whole host of issues you were completely unaware of. It may indicate the aforementioned replication issues, bottlenecks elsewhere in the workflow or systems which are proving more unreliable due to bugs or software limitations.

Finding areas which need to be improved and addressing them will not only give you a happier workforce, but also a more productive workforce.

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Analyse the results

If you found any areas for improvement, we’ve got the solution for you.

Whilst there may be many businesses the same as yours, its a fact that each will have their own unique workflow, and you need a system which works with (and enhances) your own.

We’ll sit down with you and analyse your current workflow, look at the weaknesses you’ve identified and explore the solutions available to you.

This may even include functionality you’d never thought of, and it could be something which proves invaluable and helps improve your business efficiency further.

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Interested? Get in touch with us

If you think your business could benefit from a bespoke system then either call us on 07980 806 370 or alternatively complete the form below.

If you would like to take advantage of a free 60 minute consultation at our premises please indicate below.

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Note that this is for a guide only, we'll need to ensure we're available for your consultation.