Are there changes you’d like to drive in your organization this year? Now is the perfect time to sit down and draw up a basic framework for that initiative. We’ve put together a list of questions to help you perform a basic process audit of your organizational processes. Once you go through a process audit, you’ll be able to set goals for your organization for 2015.
Before you can determine which processes your initiative will tackle, you need to understand how those processes affect the customers within and throughout your organization. Any change that improves efficiency in delivering product or services to customers will provide a return on your investment in making the change.
Exercise #1 – Which processes drive your business?
Choose three processes or workflows that drive how your organization delivers on its objectives. For our example, we’ll be looking at sales contract administration for Corporation X.
Exercise #2 – Are these processes delivering on their objectives?
To help you choose a few processes to isolate, here are some high-level questions to answer:
- How do these workflows help or hinder the overall productivity of your team or organization?
- Is there an inefficient, but critically important part of the process in which team members are repeatedly bogged down?
- Do you deliver any product/service to internal or external customers without a formal process? (major red flag)
- Are these processes hard to manage because a gap exists around them in your existing software?
Exercise #3 – What are the considerations for each process?
Now it’s time to conduct a basic process audit for each of the three you’ve identified through the preliminary questions.
Example: Sales Contract Administration
What is the deliverable?
Example: an executed contract for client XYZ…
Who is (are) the client(s)?
Examples: CTO at client XYZ and VP of Sales and Accountant at X Corp
What are the steps involved in completing the process?
Ex. 1. – Client XYZ is interested in purchasing goods or services, and the sales executive requests a contract to solidify the deal.
2 – Contract is drawn up at X Corp and sent to XYZ to sign.
3 – Contract is reviewed at XYZ.
4 – Edits or signed contract sent back to X Corp
5 – X Corp reviews edits and/or signs contract (steps 4 & 5 may happen more than once)
6 – Contracted executed by XYZ and X Corp and delivered to both parties
7 – Final document stored for reference
8 – Sale of widgets, or services to be rendered between X Corp and XYZ can begin.
9 – Contract must be managed for compliance, deadlines, expirations, etc.
Which roles are involved in delivering this product?
Examples: Sales at X Corp; VP Sales at X Corp; Legal team at X Corp; Admin at X Corp; Requesting Department at XYZ; CTO at XYZ; Legal team at XYZ; Admin at X Corp
How do you measure success?
Examples: number and velocity of executed contracts has a direct impact on sales revenue; client XYZ and X Corp receive a clear contract document
How successful is the current workflow?
- 5 clients went to competitor because they needed an executed contract in a much quicker timeframe;
- Admins at X Corp have to do a lot of back and forth with version tracking and mistakes are often made; due to mistakes made in version tracking, several client relationships are strained;
- The process is much more expensive from a time perspective than it needs to be;
- Due to the added time spent by personnel, the process is more expensive than it needs to be;
- Executed contracts cannot be located quickly and produced on the fly
Exercise #4 – How can the process be improved to deliver on objectives more successfully?
By examining each step of the process under a microscope, you can more easily see issues and identify opportunities for improvement.
Look at your process audit and determine what changes would improve it.
Examples of improvements could be:
- Team members collaborating in real-time will reduce the potential for mistakes that happen when tracking versions of a contract in a static environment;
- A quicker process from start to end will improve efficiency overall and lead to quicker delivery of product;
- Transparency of process gives team members visibility into where the process is currently
In evaluating the outcome of your potential changes, make sure the answer to the following questions will be a resounding YES.
- Will the process be quicker, therefore allowing for more efficiency?
- Will the accuracy of the process be improved by the change?
- Will the optimization of the process increase productivity?
Now that you’ve gone through the exercises, we hope that you are inspired to take on advocating meaningful change in your organization in 2015. Check out these additional resources on our blog:
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