Guest post by Michael Pendred (learn more about the author at the end of the article)
Business process planning is a critical step to operating a successful company. Without an effective and smooth process, a company lacks the security needed to maintain stability and growth. Below you’ll find five common mistakes that can lead to problems in business process planning:
1. Failure to establish a business process plan
It is never a good idea to assume a business process will happen naturally or does not need to be orchestrated. Nor should a company owner assume that the process will function the same way indefinitely. Periodic adjustments will be necessary as things change – processes, employees, clients, and services. A business process plan should be thoughtfully developed by company leadership and reviewed at least annually for needed updates and changes.
2. Failure to appoint appropriately-trained staff
Business process planning should be managed by people who have completed suitable training, often those holding a college certificate or degree. These individuals should be completely familiar with the company systems and processes overall, as well as with each component of operations. Allowing someone with little to no experience to oversee critical business process planning can lead to serious oversights and errors. Even employees who are skilled in their respective areas may lack the insight or analytical skills to be responsible for an entire business operation.
3. Failure to implement a comprehensive analysis of all critical business systems
Every aspect of the business should be taken into account with respect to its role within a department as well as the interconnectedness of each department to the entire company and target market. Underestimating a unit’s value can have a detrimental effect on the business planning process. Each operating system, department, and employee position should have a written job description that is updated regularly.
4. Failure to monitor the business process between reviews
Just because a business process is approved following each review, this doesn’t mean the process should not be monitored at other times. If customers are complaining about a process that isn’t working well, that process should be evaluated before the annual review. Personnel in charge of a particular system should monitor its effectiveness routinely to ensure it continues to work properly. Operational changes or disruptions should be noted in writing, and the process inspected to ensure the problem has been resolved.
5. Failure to address problems effectively
Just as important as failing to follow through on each step of the business process plan in a proactive manner is the problem of not addressing issues thoroughly. A business process plan should provide for adequate personnel, competent operations, and trouble-shooting mechanisms to prevent problems. When problems occur, shortcuts and Band-Aid approaches are not the best way to manage them. Keeping an eye on the future will help to guide the business process plan to protect the company’s best interests. A shoestring repair today could lead to systems failure tomorrow.
Business process planning should be part of a company’s overall strategic plan to keep the company healthy and vibrant. Remember than an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
About the Author
Michael Pendred is Managing Director of Horizon Business Systems, experts in developing business process management solutions to improve workflow and cut operating costs. You can find Michael on Google+ as well.