11 improvement of business techniques (and their benefits)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 26 April 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Even if your current business processes worked for you when you implemented them, you may benefit from updating them as the company grows. Organisations pursue improvement in different ways, and methods that work for them depend on their goals. Learning about new ways to approach business operations can help you develop a strategy that leads to company success. In this article, we explain why the improvement of business techniques is important and explore 11 techniques that may help you increase efficiency and boost your revenue.
Why is the improvement of business techniques important?
Improvement of business techniques is important because it can help you develop strategies that streamline your processes. Businesses are dynamic, and change can occur rapidly as they grow. It's critical to monitor the success of your operations consistently so you can determine whether the company's current approach is working. Each element of the company works together to contribute to productivity and success, so if the company underperforms in certain areas, it can affect the entire organisation.
If you find your teams are experiencing more challenges than usual, it may be time to review your policies and procedures and identify areas in which the company isn't performing effectively. Then, you can use business improvement techniques to change your operations and make them more efficient, which may benefit the company, its customers and its employees.
11 business improvement techniques
Here are 11 business improvement techniques for you to consider if you want to update your current processes:
1. Create a continuous improvement team
An important part of implementing changes in business operations is including members of different teams throughout the organisation. Selecting a key person or people from each department, particularly a senior team member or manager, can help you learn more about how each department functions over time and whether they have any longstanding issues that you could resolve through business improvement techniques.
Remember to keep your team active after implementing changes to monitor if the new processes remain efficient. If your continuous improvement team recognises a pattern of issues again, they can identify them and work together to resolve them. For example, the customer service department might find after a period of growth that current procedures for managing incoming calls from customers aren't effective anymore because the number of calls has increased. To keep pace with business growth and maintain the customer base, you might consider establishing an inbound call centre.
2. Evaluate your current operations
Before you make changes to improve your operations, evaluate your existing operations thoroughly. Make note of strengths and weaknesses. This can help you determine which areas to improve on and which you can use as an example when developing new strategies.
You may find that an efficient way to complete an evaluation is to meet individually with the team member or members from each department that you plan to include in the continuous improvement team. These meetings can help you identify patterns, understand how operations within one team relate to those within another and develop business improvement methods for each department that complement each other.
3. Establish a plan for improving processes
When creating improvement plans, follow a structure to make sure you stay consistent each time you make a change. For example, you might consider factors like:
the specific problem
what you can change
how to implement that change
the required tools for this approach
whether you have the resources to take this approach
Planning is an essential part of the business improvement process because it's important to recognise which ideas you can put into action. You and the continuous improvement team may have many ideas for policy changes, but exploring each one and what it would require can help you choose one that may work better than other options. This can prevent you from wasting time, money and other resources during this process.
4. Ensure plans are easy to understand
When you create an improvement plan, remember to organise it in a simple format that makes it easy for your colleagues and managers throughout the organisation to understand. Even if you plan to change individual teams or roles, try to explain them without using jargon so others can understand the importance of the change. If you implement changes that involve technical or highly specific processes, consider adding an index or providing a written explanation for them.
For example, if the software development team manager has identified an issue with the team's process for managing bug fixes, work with the manager to simplify the language in the planning documentation so the entire continuous development team understands its importance. You might also consider noting how this process has affected productivity, the goal for making the change and how it affects other departments. This can prevent confusion and ensure the team knows the reason for each business improvement approach.
5. Strategise effective communication methods
Communication has a critical role in implementing and monitoring business improvement techniques. Members of the continuous improvement team and their colleagues and managers within their departments can help make beneficial changes by providing feedback. By sharing their ideas and opinions about what works and what could use improvement, they can help organisational leaders understand the need for change or the effects of new processes on the company.
To ensure everyone within the organisation can communicate their concerns effectively, consider establishing a communication procedure as part of your business improvement plan. You might choose to use instant messaging services or encourage employees to share their ideas during meetings. If you prefer to manage concerns at a departmental level, you can create a communication hierarchy that shows employees who they can contact with questions about team processes.
6. Develop and maintain best practices
Best practices are industry-standard guidelines you can incorporate into your business operations to improve efficiency and ensure every member of the organisation uses the same processes for managing their tasks. This can help you stay consistent in your practices and minimise errors and prevent misunderstandings between colleagues that can decrease productivity. Best practices typically remain stable as a company grows, so integrating them into your operations as the foundation for process changes can guide you and your teams in making business improvements.
7. Involve your stakeholders
Any time you make business improvements, remember to keep your stakeholders informed of the changes. Even if the changes don't involve them directly, the effect of the new operations may have an influence on other elements of the business or change important aspects of it, such as revenue. Some organisations also choose to include stakeholders in the business improvement process by allowing them to help make decisions that could affect the company. For example, a company may consult investors before implementing a budget increase that could lead to a change in its projected profits.
8. Allocate resources efficiently
Each team requires resources to function and having the right type and number of resources available can lead to optimal processes. When you're considering making business improvements, consider surveying employees to learn more about what they consider their most helpful tools and areas where they could use more resources. Team leaders may also have suggestions, such as a proposed increase in budget, that could help them provide resources for their teams. Some resources teams may request to improve business operations include:
9. Hold regular meetings
Besides meeting with the continuous improvement team, remember to schedule meetings with other departments at regular intervals to evaluate the success of changes that affect them. The intervals you choose may vary based on the size of the organisation and the extent of the changes you make. Be sure to ask for feedback anytime the organisation modifies its processes.
For example, if you recently approved a budget increase for the marketing department, you might meet with that team weekly to determine how the increase has affected productivity. Marketing efforts also affect other areas of the business, so you might have monthly meetings with other teams. Holding a company-wide meeting occasionally, such as once per quarter, can also help you assess the progress of operational changes.
10. Encourage collaboration between teams
Despite their differences, the duties of certain teams often overlap. For example, sales and marketing teams often collaborate because marketing campaigns can affect sales, and sales teams can provide insight about products or services to promote. When you encourage collaboration between teams, you allow them to contribute to each other's efforts in beneficial ways. Collaboration can also show teams they have more to learn from other departments than they realised, which can help them identify areas for improvement more effectively.
11. Emphasise diversity and inclusion
Professionals, organisations and clients benefit from diversity and inclusion for many reasons, and one of the primary advantages is the ability to gain perspectives from employees from different backgrounds. The ability to visualise problems and solutions from multiple angles and understand how they affect people can have a positive influence on business improvement choices. By giving everyone a voice, organisations can build a foundation for growth and make their employees and customers feel valued.
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