Process Optimization in 5 Steps with 7 Tools

by | Aug 23, 2022 | Process Optimization | 0 comments

Reading Time: 13 Minutes

In this article you will learn what process optimization is, why it is indispensable, and how you can optimize your business processes in 5 steps with 7 tools.

We can’t make the deadline! We don’t have enough senior staff to do it! My staff keep complaining about the workload! We don’t know where our customers are coming from! Social media takes up too much of our time and yet we’re not successful enough!….

If you’ve said at least one of these things before, you’re having trouble optimizing your processes. Let’s solve the problem!

Whether you’ve never heard of process optimization, or you know about it but are still struggling, this article is for you!

In just a few steps and with the right tools, you can optimize your time-consuming processes!

So what does process optimization really mean?

Process optimization is about adjusting processes to optimize their results while staying within their limits. These limits can be, for example, the project deadline, the budget, and the human resources allocated to the project. In general, it is about minimizing costs and maximizing performance, productivity, and efficiency.

For example, process optimization can create strategies to improve workflow, improve communication, anticipate change, and eliminate redundancies in project management.

In short, it keeps you from burning out, burning money unnecessarily, or managing haphazardly without knowing exactly which things are worth your time and which are not. It also helps you to keep recruiting costs low and to retain employees longer, as well as to recognize possible challenges early on.

Overall, the management and optimization of processes is crucial for digital transformation in all companies.

So how can optimizing your business processes benefit you?

Without a doubt, process optimization makes your company more competitive in the long run.

Let’s take a closer look at the other benefits for your business:

Risk minimization

By optimizing your processes, you can reduce the risks that can undermine a project’s progress. Visual and written mapping of activities makes it easier to standardize and formalize processes. This significantly reduces risks by reducing errors, duplication of effort, and questions about procedures.

This means that even junior staff can often perform tasks that require senior know-how. The learning phase of new employees can also be shortened.

Cost Reduction & Better Results

In the long run, you achieve better project results and reduce costs at the same time. The reason for this is that when processes are optimized, waste can be easily identified. This allows you to find errors, misused resources, bottlenecks that affect productivity, and so on. This in turn helps to solve these problems and reduce costs.

One of the biggest benefits of improved internal and external processes is the increased chances of delivering the quality that customers expect from a product or service provider. In this way, one can gain an important market position and deliver higher added value.

In addition, the quality of work and results is improved through process optimization. From the optimization of workflows to more transparency – the quality of the results is improved through the process.

Automation tools can help map processes, eliminate critical personnel dependencies, and eliminate data errors by eliminating low-value manual process work.

Optimized time management

You also optimize your time management by eliminating tasks that don’t add value without negative consequences. This maximizes time efficiency and creates more agile workflows.

Better problem-solving ability

Of course, you not only recognize errors, but also identify the root causes of the problems. This helps address errors at the source, so managers don’t have to waste resources mitigating the consequences instead of actually solving the problems.

Controlled compliance

With standardized and monitored processes, it is easier to comply with regulations. And in the event of an audit, the transparency of the processes facilitates the procedure and contributes to the desired results. Because employees do not work in isolation from each other, there are often parts of the process that are handled by different people. By mapping processes and analyzing workflows, employees become privy to the responsibilities of their colleagues. In this way, more transparency and accountability can be ensured.

How to optimize your processes in 5 steps

1. Identify / Visualize it

A smart move would be to choose a single problem, obstacle, or slow process in your business. Because in order to know what you can improve, you must first identify where there is a problem.

Understand what is causing the problem. The reason could be a lack of communication, a manager who doesn’t respond in a timely manner, or a supplier who is slow to act. Think about a process in your company that is costing you more than it should, or that is causing customer dissatisfaction or even stress between employees.

Set a goal that you want to achieve, for example to speed up the process or get it done without these hurdles. It’s about understanding the process and what it needs, rather than trying to add something new to solve existing problems.

You can use process mapping for this. As you map the processes, you can involve your team and those involved in the day-to-day operations to find out where there are problems. You should focus on one problem at a time.

Now ask questions about this process and try to find out what is the core of the process, the unchanging elements.

●  What is the ultimate purpose of the process?

●  What should the result look like?

●  Where does the process begin and end?

●  What activities are part of the process and go through the different phases?

●  Which departments and people are involved?

●  Which areas are automated and which actions are implemented manually and will have to be in the future?

●  What information is passed between the steps?

At this point you are asking what the process is, not how not how it should be.

2. Rethink your processes

Optimizing business processes can be achieved by leveraging existing resources. You may already have everything you need to make changes.

Maybe you just need to rethink a little or find creative solutions to problems. If you find that you lack tools that can help you solve the problem, consider expanding your toolkit. This will involve upfront costs, but you can make a compelling case for the benefits that will come from making the switch. 

It’s time to outline the process and think about how each step is executed, how the process flows, and what process optimization means to that process. Ask yourself and your team these questions:

●  Is there a better way to run this process?

●  How exactly will this process work?

●  How long will it take to complete the process?

●  How much time is lost to rework and error correction?

●  Where does the process get bogged down?

It is important to take a micro and a macro perspective. Every detail is important, for example, the way a landing page is written influences the perception of what your company can offer, because your landing page is one of your most important advertising tools and influences the so-called “customer journey.”

Compare the answers to these questions with those of the first point, and you will find that some tasks that seemed important to you are actually superfluous.

3. Analyze & Implement

After you have learned the process in such detail and identified the opportunities for change and the need for improvement, it is time to apply the process in a new way. This is a tricky part of process optimization.

Plan the process of “shoulds.” You should develop an action plan in which you define the boundaries, set goals, and assemble a team that will be responsible for implementing the change. At the 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 to help you manage internal  processes such as communication between employees, you can measure success by comparing the time it takes to run it automatically versus manually.

There is no one way to do work – it can be a continuous improvement cycle in which you aim for better and better results. Repeat the steps for each new process that you think can be done better, and keep watching it to optimize it even more.

For effective business process optimization, it is crucial that all stakeholders accept the new process and implement the changes. It is therefore advisable to involve them to a large extent in the change process.

This way, you can collect data, review the results, and determine whether or not the improvements actually occurred. It may happen that the process does not end as you expected. Perhaps employees do not adjust well to the new process because the implementation was not done correctly; in that case, it is necessary to re-evaluate the process and the implementation of the optimization.

4. Automation is the key

Automate the processes that have been proven to work and implement them in the business to reduce costs, eliminate errors, and increase production.

You can use automation tools to handle repetitive, time-consuming, and costly tasks. For example, if you automate data entry, you’ll find that fewer of the errors often made by humans will occur.

CRM or project management software for business automation can help you keep records, store or match data, send notifications, track leads, and turn contacts into long-term customers.

Automated workflows also help to increase employee satisfaction, as employees are relieved of routine tasks and can instead focus on demanding analytical tasks.

Below you will find some tools that you can use to automate various tasks.

5. Continue to observe your processes!

Process optimization takes place continuously. Throughout process optimization, the watchword is: monitor, monitor, monitor. This means that every change or optimization should be followed up and monitored for success or failure.

After automation, you will surely find new improvement points and bottlenecks. Identify them, rethink the process, then implement and automate it.

Like (almost) all processes in business process management, this is a cyclical project that should be reviewed at least once a year and should also become part of the company’s DNA.

When the idea of optimization becomes ingrained in the corporate culture, it increases customer and employee satisfaction, as well as profitability. It can also reduce resource waste to an unprecedented degree.

One way to monitor processes with automation tools is through real-time reports and dashboards.

Make sure you use reliable software when optimizing your company’s processes. The results will only be worthwhile if the process works satisfactorily.

How should you carry out process optimization in your company?

Process optimization should be continuous and you should always be on the lookout for new opportunities for improvement, because this is the only way to keep your company competitive.

At the same time, employees must understand that process optimization aims to make their work easier and the company more productive.

By optimizing the use of resources, process optimization undeniably increases the efficiency of the company and provides added value for customers.

That’s why technology platforms help transform your business processes, just as integrated process management can improve or even revolutionize your business.

7 tools that simplify your work life 

Project Management

ClickUp

ClickUp is one of the most comprehensive and powerful project management software designed for teams and individuals.

Most professionals use separate apps for task lists, calendars, schedules, project management, document editing, communication, and collaboration. But what if you could use a single app for all these functions? With productivity apps like ClickUp, you can do multiple things in one place and automate them flawless.

ClickUp’s main focus is to eliminate the frustrations, inefficiencies, and interruptions caused by current project management solutions.  ClickUp is designed to save you time and make you and your team more productive.

ClickUp is available as a cloud-based app, desktop app, smartphone app, Chrome extension. You can use ClickUp for process management, task management, time management, third-party app integration, full workspace customization, team collaboration, and reporting.

If you want to try the app, you can start with the Free Forever plan, which includes 100 MB of storage for attachments, unlimited members, and unlimited tasks.

Social Media Marketing

Metricool

Metricool is a platform that helps you analyze, manage, and grow your digital presence with unique tools and features. It helps you unify all your social media and web analytics, plan your social media content, and manage your advertising campaigns.

The main advantage of Metricool is the integration of all your analytics data from the web and social media in one dashboard. All you have to do is go to the link in your dashboard and connect your website and social media accounts.

There you can find metrics on how your account has grown over time, how many followers you’ve gained/lost, how many clicks you are getting, etc.

One of the best practices of social media analysis is tracking the demographics of your target audience. With Metricool, you can find useful demographic data about your audience that you can use to better understand them and create targeted content and campaigns. You can analyze how your content has evolved and whether you need to change your content strategy.

Besides analyzing websites and social media, you can also track the performance of your ad campaigns directly from the Metricool dashboard. You get metrics like spend, clicks, conversions, impressions, CPM, and so on for each campaign.

With Metricool you can get customized reports for all the above metrics. You have full control over which metrics are included in a report and how the data is presented.

You can also create report templates that you can reuse as many times as you want.

Metricool also allows scheduling and automated posting of social media content with the autolist feature.

All in all, Metricool is our favorite tool that we use to automate our social media marketing.

Neuroflash

The AI-powered software from neuroflash for marketing copywriting helps marketing teams create short and long copy much faster, more intuitively, and more efficiently. Neuroflash supports human creativity with AI-powered performance prediction, which has been proven to lead to better performance and ultimately more confident copywriters.

Neuroflash allows you to visualize the opinion of your target audience in real time before the ad text goes online. The software helps you find suitable alternatives with keywords for better performance. It has a built-in artificial consumer brain that evaluates headlines and words based on audience samples of over a billion users.

Using natural language processing and neuromarketing science, the system creates alternative advertising messages that it predicts will perform better. The Create and Compare feature allows copywriters to create short marketing texts for slogans, headlines, metadata, Google ads, Facebook posts, product descriptions, etc.

Neuroflash offers Tester Pro capabilities to predict newsletter performance, email open rates, and lead generation. Finally, the Explorer tool can provide users with new content ideas. It also provides you with marketing message insights to increase their effectiveness.

Canva

Canva is a comprehensive design tool for those who are not experienced designers. Most people think of it as an image design tool, but it’s much more. You can design everything from printed materials to PDFs, invoices, flyers, infographics, and websites.

Depending on your experience, you can either start from scratch or use the templates.

There is a web version and apps for cell phones and desktops.

Canva is a graphic design tool that lets you easily create custom graphics. It’s easily accessible via mobile or tablet and user-friendly. You can use it not only to spice up your social media content, but also to design presentations, invitations, posters, brochures, business cards, and more.

If your business has a social media presence, you need to offer content that appeals to your target audience. Simple and boring graphics won’t do the trick. Luckily, Canva makes it easy to create aesthetically pleasing graphics and even videos that will grow both your social media profile and your brand.

DeepL

If you want to publish multilingual content, DeepL is the best translator for you. With the advanced features of DeepL you can simplify your workflow, save valuable time and scale your translation needs without compromising on translation quality.

Sales

Pipedrive  

In the fast-paced world of sales and building customer relationships, you need awesome technology to help you with your daily tasks. Luckily, there are services like Pipedrive CRM that help you manage your customer relationships efficiently and carefully. But what exactly does Pipedrive do? And what is a CRM anyway?

If you’re looking for ways to build new customer relationships and manage clients, it’s time to consider a leading CRM.

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. A CRM platform serves as a central hub where you can manage all your customers and projects.

A CRM helps you track customers, know where they are in the sales process, and guide them through a systematic sales process. It also helps you ensure that your team members are all on the same page.

Modern companies need to be carefully streamlined. This applies to all departments. Companies use CRMs to gain useful insights into current project progress and what they are doing to reach customers.

Pipedrive CRM is a leading pipeline CRM service designed to make the sales and relationship-building process more efficient than ever. Pipedrive helps you easily import your leads, assign them to your sales reps, and move them through the various stages of the sales cycle. With sales panel integration, it can enrich all records with marketing data and provide important sales information.

Pipedrive is fully customizable. This means that you can set up your own unique sales processes and patterns without having to rely on the standard defaults. One of the most important advantages of Pipedrive is its incredible flexibility.

Pipedrive is not only there to remind about and report on the stages in the pipeline, but also to correlate them cleanly with data.

Ultimately, Pipedrive helps put your sales drivers and processes in a clear order. Some CRMs are better suited for collaboration and long-term goals. Pipedrive, on the other hand, is perfect for managing sales from start to finish.

Pipedrive CRM gives you a complete pipeline overview. This helps you achieve your sales goals and ensure that your prospects are happy, confident, and well informed. Why waste time with multiple programs and spreadsheets that clutter everything up? Always choose a leading pipeline CRM that brings together complex, critical data for long-term leads and financial success.

Accounting

sevDesk

sevDesk is a web-based accounting platform for entrepreneurs and small businesses, from cleaning services to civil engineering firms, or even musicians. The interface is available in many languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Greek.

sevDesk is available in three variants. Basic functions include management of invoices, quotes, reminders, products, customers, and tasks. In its most comprehensive form, the accounting solution also offers inventory management, price management, and supplier and item allocation. sevDesk also offers a dashboard and reporting tools. Collaboration is enabled through task management and assignment, audit trails, and access rights management.

Tax advisors can log into a self-service portal to access their client’s sevDesk account. It provides real-time data and allows exports with just a few clicks.

Free apps (iOS and Android) allow you to access sevDesk from any device. Daily backups are performed and data is encrypted with TLS. sevDesk is GDPR compliant and offers you digital archiving and a documentation log.

Internal Communication

Slack

Slack is basically a chat room for your entire company, designed to replace email as the primary method of communication and sharing.

In the workspaces, you can organize communication by channel to have group discussions, and you can send private messages to share information, files, and more in one place.

Plus, Slack integrates with a variety of other apps so you can manage your entire workflow from one platform.

Conclusion

Simply put, business process optimization is the improvement of business processes. There are countless ways to adjust a process to make it objectively better. These range from omitting certain tasks to adding new ones, from rewriting a specific process step to changing the order of tasks to improve the overall flow.

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