Productive workflow isn’t something that can be defined once and then satisfied year after year. If companies want to continue down a successful and lucrative path, positive change should always be on the agenda.
Being efficient in a company, large or small, can be tricky. Mainly because, we often times become blind to change. Similar to the motto, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” companies find themselves sticking to the formula rather than investing the time and money in figuring out how to improve upon it. This is not to say that establishing best practices isn’t important. On the contrary, it’s extremely beneficial for everyone to have a clear idea as to what is involved and expected in overall business processes.
In fact, it is this careful attention to workflow that assists companies in maintaining a competitive edge. For instance, when we have a process that works well, but find ways to make it even better, more work is done in less time and a better product result is achieved.
Accessa Coatings Solutions, a research and development company in the coating industry, discusses how change (or lack thereof) in workflow can impact companies differently. In a recent blog, they highlight the differences in workflow between big and small coating finisher companies:
For many, “workflow” is something you figured out when you built the place. Perhaps you reconsidered it when you acquired new equipment, added employees or when you expanded capabilities. After that, most shops go to autopilot. Smaller shops, in particular, observe fewer alternatives so they learn to worry less about workarounds. Larger competitors, however, get more and more sophisticated with workflow management. They continue to monitor effectiveness using advanced software and efficiency measurement tools. They revisit workflow plans, if not daily, with each new job that enters the plant. Sometimes they make significant changes, sometimes, small improvements — all in the name of effectiveness.
Unlike big companies that keep a close eye on the effectiveness of processes, small companies tend to stick to the old routine. Whether it’s due in part to financial restrictions or not, this poses a problem for growing a business:
It’s a bit ironic. Small shops remain small largely because they get comfortable jumping through the hoops they build. Without knowing it, they assume a work-harder stance, not realizing they could be working smarter …
Without an up-to-date workflow plan based on the right information and stimulus, perception is altered. You think you’re doing well, but you’re actually hallucinating.
AccelaWork’s very own Robby Slaughter, productivity and workflow expert, contributes his intricate knowledge by advising small companies to seek out optimal workflow through diagrams:
There’s no clearer way to map out what you are doing than to draw a picture. Find a whiteboard and work with your team to identify the steps, the flow, the dependencies and the challenges.
When it comes to growing a business, complacency is ill-advised. It’s a trip wire that stalls momentum. Rather, be vigilant, be open to change and innovate!