Dave Lennon, Business Consulting Team Lead for North America, FINEOS
What’s the saying again – ‘Time is Money and Money is Time’. From a business point of view, both are what we are trying to save. So how can a bunch of boring old processes help us do that? It’s simple really, when you take a process and ensure that the same standards and expectations are applied to all users, you are then able to see who is pulling their weight and who is not. You’ll see the inefficiencies with the duplication of work that is being completed in order to finish a work task. These items are exposed when we start to standardize our processes.
In my experience, when implementing software solutions, we sometimes don’t concentrate enough on standardizing processing across the business. This results in a solution where savings are missed, as we try to implement the old way of doing things in a new world environment. The buy-in from staff may not be there as they fear change and have a perception that this change will negatively impact their work life, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The need to apply standard processes and the impact that this has on ROI should be to the forefront of any software engagement.
How can a standard business process help me?
By ensuring that everyone is completing work the same way, time can be saved on training needs, and monetary savings always follow time savings! These training savings are not simply confined to someone new joining the company. In this instance a person could be brought up to speed relatively quick, as the questions they need answered to do their job are easily attained from their work colleagues. Also think about the savings from an internal move, where someone can be brought up to speed quickly in a new role as they are used to the standard processes and tools that are implemented by the company.
Another bonus associated with having standard processing is the data that can be subject to analysis by companies regarding work completed by staff. This can be used in many different ways. One key way to use it, is to target specific training needs for individuals in order to make further efficiency gains in standardizing processes. If everyone is operating in a standard process and being assessed against the same service levels then we can remove the perception that may have existed in a non-standardized world; that some people work harder or some people take longer to resolve issues.
The benefits generated here will be felt by the customer. Overall the company will be in a position to increase customer satisfaction as the customer will be dealt with in a standardized manner throughout their engagement with the company. It’s what we call a win-win situation!
Where do I start in standardizing my business processes?
Simply start by looking at what is currently out there and take the best and most efficient process, then champion this process to those people that may be resistant to change by extoling the benefits to both the individual and the company of standard processing. By creating that buy-in from staff, the new process will be more efficient, more successful and generate greater savings. By establishing the baseline that is needed to be more efficient, companies can seek further efficiencies and savings by simply using the data that is generated as a result of the process such as time taken to send out a document, time taken to return a phone call and time taken to process a payment. These are just a few examples, by taking the data from the standardized processes and analyzing it, it will help expose areas of improvement in the process or staff, and this will give you the ability to fix the issues and ensure even greater success.
Overall standard processes save companies time and money and enable them to engage with customers more frequently and efficiently, thereby increasing their customer satisfaction rating. We all know that at the end of the day, keeping customers happy is what we all should be about.