April 2, 2020

Process Optimisation in 5 Easy Steps

Process Improvement
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In any business, the opportunity for improvement is infinite. With the number of processes occurring, people involved and ever-evolving technology, process optimisation is one way to help improve your organisation continuously. 

What is Process Optimisation?

Process optimisation is the practice of enhancing organisational efficiency through process improvement. It is done to accomplish business goals. While there are many ways to implement process optimisation, the main gist is that you can lower costs and maximise outputs. 

As such, business process optimisation is a quantitative tool that aids in better decision-making. There are three fundamental organisational places where optimisation can be achieved, including:

  • Equipment optimisation - This helps verify that existing tools are being used optimally. This also includes technological tools and ensuring data is accurate and useful. Here, businesses may discover bottlenecks to be fixed. 
  • Operating procedures - Procedures and processes vary based on the people working, the day, and more. One of the best ways to optimise operating procedures is to use automation. When implementing automation to improve processes, everyone must be on the same page. 
  • Control optimisation - Many control loops manage one aspect of a process within a company. If each control loop is not at its optimal setting, then it negatively impacts the entire chain of events. The process of optimising controls can significantly lower overall costs and maximise output. 

While business process optimisation is nuanced for every type of business, it remains an aspect of business process management (BPM). Here are some common examples of process optimisation:

  • Remove redundancies
  • Enhance communication 
  • Forecast changes
  • Streamline workflows 


The Benefits of Process Optimisation

Along with increasing your bottom line and decreasing costs, process optimisation has a multitude of benefits. Many process optimisation benefits are gained through enlisting software automation tools, like SolveXia, to help do the work. These automation tools can help aid in achieving the following benefits:

  • Compliance - When processes are at their best, they adhere to regulations of the industry. They can also help to reduce compliance risk. For example, the financial sector is heavily regulated. The amount of data that flows in and out of businesses must be protected at the highest level. Also, financial records must be accurate. Tools like SolveXia can help reduce compliance risk as audit trails are quickly recorded. Furthermore, there is access control so that when information is altered, there’s a recording of what was changed. That documentation is locked from editing, and therefore, verified.  
  • Quality - The quality of work and outputs is enhanced through process optimisation. From streamlining workflows to increased transparency, the quality of outputs is made better through the process. Automation tools can help with mapping out processes, removing critical personnel dependency and remove data errors by eliminating low-value manual process work.
  • Consistency - Organisations can maintain competitive advantages when they remain consistent in their outputs and workflows. Consistency is key to customer retention. Process optimisation can solve this consistency limitation. Automation tools aid in this too because processes become automated. When they are automated, it decreases any human interaction or fluctuations. 
  • Visibility - Another essential benefit of process optimisation is increased clarity and transparency. As noted above, most processes have controls. Since employees don’t work in isolation from one another, there are often pieces of the process that are handled by different people. Through process mapping and analysing how workflows happen, people become privy to the responsibilities of their colleagues. This way, increased visibility and accountability can be upheld. 
  • Streamlining - Bottlenecks are timely, costly and can cause employee turnover and lost customers. When you can streamline businesses, you can avoid bottlenecks and critical person dependencies. For example, with automation tools, you can input a process like account reconciliations into the system. Then, instead of having to wait for approvals or data entry, the software will do the work for you and make sure that any person who needs to see reports automatically receives the information that they need to close out the process. 

5 Steps for Process Optimisation

To start process optimisation in your business, follow these five steps: 

1. Identify/map it out

To know what you have to improve, you first must identify the places for improvement. You can use process mapping to do so. While outlining processes, you can utilise your team and those involved in the daily operations to help pinpoint where challenges exist. You should focus on one issue at a time. 

2. Rethink

Business process optimisation can be achieved through the usage of existing resources. You may have everything you need to implement changes. It could just require some rethinking or creative problem-solving. If you find that you are missing tools that can help solve the issue, then consider adding to your tool stack. While this is an upfront cost, you can make a case for the extended benefits that come along with making the change. 

3.Analyse

 Plan the “to be” process. You’ll want to develop an action plan that outlines the boundaries, defines objectives, and establishes a team who will be responsible for implementing the change. At this same time, you should describe how you will measure success by defining KPIs (key performance indicators). For example, if you plan to implement an automation tool like SolveXia to help manage financial processes like reconciliations, you can measure success by comparing the time it takes to complete automatically versus manually. 

4. Automate

Automation is likely to come into play when you are optimising processes. This is because it’s one of the best ways to lower costs and improve efficiency. You can use automation to manage repetitive and time-consuming tasks. With the automation of data entry tasks, as one example, you will notice a decrease in errors that often occur at the hands of humans. Business automation software can help to: maintain records, store data, match data, send notifications, track records, and more. Automated workflows also help to enhance employee satisfaction as they are removed from low-level tasks and can focus instead of high-level analytical duties. 

5. Monitor

Process optimisation is continuous. This means that after any change or optimisation has been made, it should be tracked and monitored for success or downfalls. One way to easily monitor processes with automation tools is by relying on reports and live-time dashboards. 


Process Automation in Action: Travel Industry Use Case

Want to understand automation tools like SolveXia in action? Here’s a use case in the travel industry that used automation to optimise their revenue. 

A group of travel management companies has commissioned arrangements with significant airlines to pay bonuses based on year-over-year revenue growth. The goal was to increase revenue, but the challenge faced was having the ability to process ticketing data and forecast airline revenues. SolveXia’s automation technology made it easy to collect ticket data from IATA and booking systems. Then, the analytics provided an accurate way to forecast revenues against commission goals. 

The automation system was deployed in under three months and included more than 50 steps in the automated processes. The actions took less than 30 minutes to process. SolveXia successfully processes more than 20 million records automatically and forecasted revenue for over 30 airlines. 

How to Choose the Perfect Optimisation Software

There are so many tools in the marketplace to choose from when optimising your business processes. Rather than feeling overwhelmed in the decision-making process, be sure to seek a tool that can manage the following aspects: 

  • Automation (that’s a no brainer!)
  • Data and document management
  • Ability to collaborate 
  • Analytics
  • Easy use and accessibility 

The Bottom Line 

All organisations strive to reach their maximum outputs with minimum input. But, some different challenges and processes need optimisation depending on the business needs. 

With automation, you can reach process optimisation. With tools like SolveXia, they can be easy to implement and can lower your business and finance risks and streamline your business processes.

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