Business Efficiency Secrets #1: Process Segmentation

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What are the secrets of the most efficient businesses? In the first of the FLOvate Business Efficiency series, we go back to basics: process segmentation.

Business efficiency secrets #1: process segmentation

Before we dive into tactical process improvement, we need to understand what our processes look like. Where they start, where they finish, and everything in between.

Fortunately, most clerical processes can be divided into a number of segments (or stages). This varies commonly between five and eight stages depending on the complexity of the process. The most common is seven stages, representing 75%+ of all clerical processes.

Each stage of the process will have different attributes in terms of complexity and the skill, training, experience of the individual needed to perform the stage. There will further be differences in cycle and execution time expectations between each stage in addition to quality and ‘customer’ service expectations.

There might also be planned points of referral to specialist resources or handoff to another related process at specific stages under certain conditions.

One & done – or multi-phase?

Each stage can usually be categorised as ‘one and done’ or ‘multi-phase’. ‘

  • One and done’ stages are typified by short cycle and execution times.
  • ‘Multi-phase’ stages vary widely but typically have cycle times measured in days/weeks and account for the majority of the execution time within any process.

If process design issues are identified outside of the ‘control of inputs’ area they are usually found in the execution of multi-phase stages.

‘Multi-phase’ stages vary widely but typically have cycle times measured in days/weeks and account for the majority of the execution time within any process.

Using software, we may implement these stages electronically and document them clearly.

Now, identify wasteful activity

Having divided our processes into logical stages, the next step is to review each in detail for those activities that do not add value. Common inefficient practices include:

  • Reliance on hard copies (employees and clients fill out data on record cards)
  • Manual data handling (physical re-keying this data, data manipulation in Excel)
  • ‘Cradle to grave’ handling (where one person is responsible for all aspects e.g. authorisation)
  • Duplication (multiple roles, departments or offices creating and managing separate versions of what is fundamentally the same process)

In conclusion

The benefits of staging our processes allows us to:

  • Eliminate non value adding activities
  • Cut process cycle time
  • Reduce process execution time
  • Increase customer satisfaction.

We hope you found our first tip of use. If you’d like to know how LEAP can help you create robust and consistent processes, just get in touch.

Coming next:

Secrets of Super Efficiency #2: Effective exceptions management