For continuous improvement, improvement in business processes is necessary. 

These improvements can be made by a thorough assessment of the existing processes in the organisation, identifying the weak points and determining optimal ways of improving on these processes. 

It is important to mention here that processes do not remain constant. The needs of your customers change, the business direction changes, there are new regulations and there is also new technology that requires change in processes. 

Simply put, processes are never going to be perfect and therefore, the need for continuous improvement.

What is a Process?

In simple terms, a process may be defined as a series of actions that are designed to achieve a particular result.

For instance, applying for a job requires a series of actions which is the process and the end result is securing employment. There is no black and white way to define whether a process is good or bad. It is subjective and depends on the context that might include project, industry or purpose along with various circumstances unique to its operation. 

In this article, we will discuss 5 unique warning signs that indicate you need to pay attention to existing processes. 

Take a close look at these signs and get started on eliminating them.

Warning Sign 1: Lack of Tangible Objectives

As per the definition above, every process needs to have an objective and those objectives should be achieved consistently. 

Simply put, the sole purpose of the existence of a process is to achieve a well-defined result. There is no need for a process to exist just for the sake of having processes. 

Go down a bit further and find out whether each step in the process has a purpose or whether another step can be used to achieve that purpose.

Warning Sign 2: Undefined Processes

If you ask two separate people to define a particular process and they tell you two completely different versions, it means the process is not clearly defined. 

There may be a variety of reasons for this to happen:

  • The process is not clearly defined.
  • The process is clearly defined but no one really gets it. The current process leads to more questions than answers.
  • The process is defined but no one knows how it’s supposed to work.

The ideal scenario is that every single person who is involved in a process has the same understanding of that process, explains mentality experts Mindset Mastery. “Having people on the same page in a business is critical in moving the company forward. A team is only as strong as its weakest member, and if they don’t understand your business process, it’s highly likely that they will only hurt your business in the short and long-term. 

The input of a process is taken from the environment such as an external step, a data source or an output from an upstream process and it is then transformed into an output. 

For the sake of completeness, the definition of a good process needs to go beyond defining only the expected objectives and it should also include ways of handling exceptions.

Warning Sign 3: Inefficient Process

The simple definition of an efficient process is complete absence of unnecessary activities. An efficient process should utilise minimal resources and should lead to minimal wastage in order to achieve the desired objective.

For Australian landscaping entrepreneur Patty Legslie, time is of the essence for every business owner, and that comes through their process. “You simply can’t afford to wait around, because wasted time is wasted money. A process that’s efficient for yourself and your business is essential for anyone running a business. Plain and simple.”

Warning Sign 4: The Process is not Defined End-to-End

An end-to-end process is defined as a series of steps (including sub-steps) that are triggered by a customer and keep moving until it achieves a successful outcome for the customer.

An end to end process simply means it is complete in all respects and takes into consideration every single step along with sub-processes that are needed in order to achieve a well-defined customer or business outcome.

Warning Sign 5: Process is Too Complex

The business processes of an organisation adequately reflect the complexity of that business. In case the processes of your organisation (including a business process model for defining processes) are complex, it also increases the chances of errors in the execution of processes. 

When it comes to making improvement in business processes, the objective should be to simplify processes in order to reduce complexity.

Continuous monitoring of processes should be done to ensure consistent delivery of results. According to the financial experts at Concept BK, without this constant monitoring the process can instantly collapse. “While constant monitoring can seem a bit excessive, it is necessary because the process can change at any time and can easily veer off course in an instant.”

The process owners should also need to consistently ensure that their processes are in line with the technological changes, changing customer demands and business strategy.

No checklist can tell you whether a particular process qualifies as good but it’s important to identify the warning signs and get rid of particular activities or steps that typically lead to execution issues. 

It is necessary to ensure that all the business processes in the organisation are as efficient as possible in order to achieve the required objective every single time.