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5 simple steps towards business efficiency and continuous improvement

Step 1 | Are you looking within?

Don’t be afraid to ask your employees.

First and foremost, you need to take a closer look at your business’s current situation.  Assessing the way you work will help you identify inefficient processes (currently) in your company.

Don’t be afraid to ask your employees. They will be the ones facing ineffectiveness every single day. Never underestimate the wealth of knowledge and ideas they have to share (about your own business!).

At the same time, be aware of what your competitors are up to. Overall knowledge of the market or industry you’re in can really help you understand your weaknesses and gauge what’s working well for them (potential opportunities for your own company) and what’s maybe not so hot.

Step 2 | How can you reduce some of your costs?

Time must be considered as a key factor in cost efficiency.

Reducing your costs doesn’t necessarily mean paying your employees less or scrimping on product quality. In fact, inefficiency costs money as well, AS WELL AS time! Time must be considered as a key factor in cost efficiency. For example, shaving five minutes off a process by making it easier or smoother will increase your performances and reduce your costs in the long-run.

Step 3 | How can you adjust your plan?

Incremental improvements are mostly inexpensive.

Think it out step-by-step. Don’t try to go (too) fast. One small change here and there, one at a time will lower your risk and increase momentum towards the improvement you’ve been planning for. Incremental improvements are mostly inexpensive and easily implemented, relative to large sweeping changes.

Step 4 | How do we measure and gather meaningful feedback?

Constant feedback is an important aspect of the continuous improvement.

As simple as it sounds, improvement means that something has been improved and worked on. You must be able to measure this improvement while using various measures, such as return on investment, employee satisfaction and engagement, customer satisfaction and so on.

Ultimately, constant feedback is an important aspect of the continuous improvement strategy. Keep in mind that an open communication channel during every phase of the process is critical to maintain engagement, at all levels of the company.

Step 5 | Rinse and repeat!

Once you’ve achieved and mapped your initial progress, already start to look for the next thing right away. It’s called “continuous improvement” for a reason: it never stops!

 

Source: 5 simple ways to build continuous improvement into your businessOperational efficiency6 Principles of the Continuous Improvement Model6 Ways to Make Your Business More Efficient.

The Importance of Strategy

A strategy is a method or a plan chosen to arrive at a desired future, such as the achievement of a goal or solution to a problem. A business strategy (on the other hand) is the firm’s working plan for achieving its vision and deliver value that customers are willing to pay for. In other words, a strategic framework focuses the company’s direction, ensuring resources and existing capabilities are used efficiently to achieve relevant objectives.

Why is it important?

Your strategy determines your company’s high-level direction, driving all internal decisions.   Investment, hiring, development, etc. decisions will be made in accordance with corporate strategy. It enables cohesive planning and decision making throughout the organisation, advancing common objectives.

An efficient strategy ensures business growth, the establishment and maintenance of a strong competitive position, as well as strong financial performance.

Hence, the absence of a strategic framework guiding and aligning lower-level decision-making, will result in different departments pursuing individual trajectories, wasting resources, time and money in the long-run.

Make sure you come up with a crystal-clear strategy and communicate it to lower-level decision makers.

Planning

The choice of objectives is at the heart of the strategising process, but an effective strategy also clearly outlines how the firm will meet these objectives. How will the strategy be implemented? This is planning. You should consider questions such as:

  • how does the firm differentiate itself from competitors?
  • what type of distribution facilities can it best take advantage of?
  • how are revenues generated?

The planning process is a challenging one, as both the company’s market strengths and weaknesses have to be considered.

Make sure your plan is relevant, realistic, and suits the market you’re playing in.

A clear set of goals, when combined with an honest appraisal of an organisation’s strengths and weaknesses, will reveal relevant and actionable opportunities within the current environment.

Source: Building the Business Case, Forbes: The Importance of Strategic Focus, Forbes: What the Heck Is A Strategy Anyway?

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