While there may be a few indications that processes are inefficient or are just not being followed in the office, many times the problem isn’t realized until it’s too late. However, by this time work is often piled up, orders are backlogged, information isn’t flowing properly, and everyone in the office is pointing at everyone else as the root of the problem.
When this happens, how can
you determine if it’s a process causing the issue? And, how can you begin taking the necessary steps to correct the problem?
Assessing the Issue
First, it’s important to assess the situation to see exactly where in the process the breakdown happens. Review the processes, and assess them for both quality and waste. Attempt to see where the process itself could be wasting time, and causing inefficiencies.
Is it the Process?
Is the process clear, and easy to understand? Does the process outline all the proper steps? Is anything missing? While it may seem silly, sometimes the simplest things cause the biggest breakdowns, so start at the beginning to see if the problem is with the process itself.
Is it the Employee?
Even if you determine the process needs a little help, continue to assess additional breakdowns. Assess the employee(s) performing the task. Are there any concerns? Did the employee(s) feel empowered enough to bring up problems before it became a larger issue? What do they feel the problem is?
Take the time to talk to your employees about the situation, and see what their concerns are. Since they are the ones that perform the task regularly, they could provide valuable insight, and may even come up with concerns you haven’t even thought of.
Is it the Equipment?
Even if the process is clearly defined, and the employee is eager and willing to carry out their required tasks, it may not be enough if the equipment they are given can’t handle the demands. Spend time assessing your equipment to see how much time slow, outdated machines are costing your business, and to determine what part they are playing in the breakdown of the process.
Correcting the Process
Once inefficiencies are assessed, it’s time to start correcting the process and getting everything back on track.
If it’s the process that’s the concern, re-write it until it is clear and workable for all parties involved. Get input from the employees involved and make any corrections to the process. Then, test, test, test. Sometimes, processes simply don’t work because they aren’t tested after their written, so don’t skip this vital step.
If it’s the employee causing the breakdown, determining why might be more difficult. How is their workload? If they are overworked, they may just not have enough time to get to this process too, and restructuring may be in order to help accommodate this need. Do they need more training? Maybe the employee doesn’t fully understand the process, or how to physically complete the task. Supplemental training may be necessary to correct the issue.
If it’s your equipment that’s causing the hold up, it’s time to take steps to get faster computers, newer software, or whatever else is needed to ensure your employees can properly perform their responsibilities.
It is understandable that new computers may be last on the list because of budget concerns. However, if that is the only thing that is stopping you from getting the equipment your employees need, contact us today. We have solutions that are affordable and even budget-able. Contact us today to find out how we can help you get your office producing again.
Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help offices run more efficiently. Email: [email protected]. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.