Process Standardization: A Complete Guide To Unifying Your Company’s Procedures

Process Standardization: A Complete Guide To Unifying Your Company's Procedures

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Imagine what would happen if every team member in your business suddenly forgot how to do their job. It would ultimately land your business in jeopardy due to the loss of a substantial number of clients. 

With everyone doing their own thing, your company is sure to run down in no time. You should be prepared to face a load of negative reviews.

All your client needs to do is identify all the loopholes in your process strategy, and your business is as good as gone. The reason many companies and businesses fail is that they assume and adapt processes that conflict with the client’s demands. The main focus of your company is the satisfaction of your clients. Employees or staff must follow processes and patterns that achieve that very goal throughout the entire process. 

This article will guide you and show you what you need to carry out process standardization. Here’s a list of topics we’ll discuss. 

Chapter 1: Introduction to Process Standardization

Chapter 2: Some Concerns About Process Standardization Addressed

Chapter 3: Process Standardization: Benefits

Chapter 4: The Relationship Between Standardization and Automation

Chapter 5: Choosing Which Processes to Standardize

Chapter 6: How to Achieve a Smooth Process Standardization

Chapter 1: Introduction to Process Standardization

Introduction to Process Standardization

The only way you can avoid this chaos is by following standard procedures. Chances are that when workers choose procedures arbitrarily, the results your client gets at the end of the day will be far different from the expected end. 

Process standardization is the establishment of a set system of attending to tasks and operations.  There are set standards your workers must follow to complete simple tasks such as attending to complaints, distributing correspondences, and filing documents. Standardization can be implemented in every type of business operation and department. Each operation comes with its own approved standards. Your job as a leader is to teach your staff and team members these process standards and make adherence compulsory. 

Why Process Standardization?

The main idea behind standardization is that your firm should have a certain level of uniform behavior when tasks are assigned. All practices within your company should have some level of conformity with best practices in other establishments. Anytime we talk of a standard process, we are interested in seeing how the product or service was created, how it’s being used or distributed, the technologies available, and the steps taken to meet the demands of your clients. 

Types of Standardization

Different industry operations require different levels of standardized processes. There is no one size fits all. Each unique business operation or enterprise is built on several professionally and generally accepted standards. Let’s take a look at some of these process standards.

Standardization of Business Processes

Business processes are one of the most common forms of standardization you’ll find implemented in your company. Thorough documentation of every activity and operation must be carried out in your firm in order to confidently rely on reports and activities that have been successfully implemented. Careful documentation facilitates your ability to judge the quality of the product or service you offer to clients. When a client inquires into any part of the process, you are better equipped to negotiate and meet the client’s demands. 

Manufacturing businesses

Those in the manufacturing industry know that all it takes is one wrong procedure and your product ends up unusable. It is safer to follow generally accepted patterns and steps to arrive at the expected end product. The entire structure of the product you’re trying to build will be certified by various people or organizations. You don’t want testing and validation to prove your product weak and substandard. The process evaluation isn’t just going to be based on what your company has produced but on what can be reproduced in other locations in the world. 

If the product you’re trying to sell fails to meet the requirements set by standard bodies, you can rest assured that it won’t be allowed to launch. The level of deviation expected from your product’s features should be based on innovations, not on unorthodox methods. It should be predictable and intentional. If a customer upgrades your product, they should get a higher level of satisfaction than what they got from a similar product due to a change of location and staff.

Product marketing

The utilization of any product or service will not be effective until there is a standardized marketing and distribution system. Products that follow standardized procedures are readily available to customers wherever they need them. Notwithstanding the state, continent, country, or geography, the same quality of products should be within reach of the customers. Even if your company grows to establish more branches in other areas globally, your customers should receive the same quality of product and service. This is only possible when you have a standardized process all employees are accustomed to, irrespective of the location. Think of what would happen if you observed that your bottle of Coca-Cola tastes different as you traveled from city to city. The first question you’d ask yourself would be to ascertain if it was the same brand product you were consuming. A standard production process makes the coke consumed in different states in the US taste the same. The same thing happens when we let people produce without an agreed-upon standard to guide them.

If you run a global firm, you should have a standard method of ensuring that your customers are not receiving different degrees and quality of products and services. You wouldn’t want to risk the reputation of your company and the profits generated.  

Chapter 2: Some Concerns About Process Standardization Addressed

Some Concerns About Process Standardization Addressed

According to Ron Ashkenas and Rizwan Khan, the announcement of a new idea may be the easiest part; implementation, however, can be met with some level of resentment, debate, and resistance. Irrespective of how good an idea, strategy, or process may seem, there’s always some level of concern, especially when it challenges popular opinion. It is not easy to ensure that all your staff work according to a regulated standard. You might find that position challenged by your workers, even if it is geared to improving the quality of your product or service. 

We often get too busy with the challenges and hurdles in life that we forget to keep track of the benefits we enjoy. Process standardization (PS) helps a company become better, especially with operational structure. Over the years, there have been many concerns raised about the implementation of standards in different industries. We’ll take a quick look at some of these concerns and how best they have been remedied. 

  1. Standardization introduces monotony and boredom.

Many people are agitated when any process appears to conform to the principle of uniformity. It’s a popular belief that diversity in operations is proof of innovation. While this stands true in some cases, team members and staff ideally work toward the same goal or idea. It is not a big deal if we are all geared to arrive at the same results. The idea of having a tedious process sounds uninteresting to most people. We fail to realize that the standards we set for performing operations help us make a better product. 

In a firm or company, timely reports are required by the operations manager. If we adopt diverse processes and operations, we will limit the product’s evaluation to the results and not the building processes. If we continue with this perspective, we will get stuck in explaining our methods to clients and other investors who don’t share similar views with us. Standards are a sure way of eliminating complexity in your operations. Since you have different professionals with different exposures and preferences, you ought to bring them all together under the platform of the same standards. With the elimination of complexities, you’d find that your workers will have more time to focus on productive activities. 

As mentioned earlier, monotony shouldn’t be thought of as a hindrance to creativity. The real reason we put a team behind a particular task is that we need a plethora of ideas, resources, and skills to achieve the goal. Having differences in our approach can limit the actualization of the common goal.

The joy of achieving an expected goal far surpasses the boredom and monotony workers may feel when adherence to standards is required.

  1. Standardization destroys creativity

This concern takes its root in the idea of monotony. Companies are not looking to constrict everyone to thinking the same way or having the same assessment of tasks. The goal is to channel our individualities toward a particular operation by following a preferred standardized set of procedures. Many people feel limited or stuck in places where operations are rated according to standards. According to them, it robs them of their ability to contribute meaningfully to the growth and development of the company. 

In our attempt to let go of this idea, we must see process standardization for what it is and not what it appears to do. Standardization of processes helps us take away options, suggestions, and alternatives that may hinder the execution of the task or bring conflict of ideas once the process has started. This is not the same as hindering innovation. We observe that processes that have been standardized are easier to execute and arrive at expected outcomes more often than ones that have not. Think of it as giving different students assignments to submit different art pieces. The chances are that your evaluation would be based on which you have more inclination to understand and appreciate; the same goes for our operations. To evaluate and measure the success of an operation, we must have a standard. 

If we have several products as a result of several processes, we would need to spend more time assessing each product based on the working theory of each method. Let’s not also forget that each method applied is based on a perspective of the challenge you hope to solve. The journey to customer satisfaction and the experience they get at the end of the day is process-dependent. One person may attempt to get a particular experience with a product while the other chooses a different experience. Our products give clients different degrees of satisfaction and comfort. 

Here’s the trick to it all: Standardization helps teams and groups become more innovative. How? With more streamlined operations, everyone can be more effective at their task allocation. As a result, you build a formidable and effective team. 

We can, however, accept a periodic review of standards and methodology to incorporate new trends and technological advancements. If your employee expresses concern over the effectiveness of a particular standard, a meeting can be set up to address such and assess the validity of such a claim. If there are areas for improvement, then they should be considered. Employees should also be advised to periodically develop new ideas to make the product or service better. As we gain strengths in our processes, it becomes easier to adjust and make recommendations. 

In reality, the challenges and concerns we face in standardization make it impossible to achieve but may be quite slow in implementation. The challenges and benefits of standardization all work together to show us how crucial it is to business operations. We can come to appreciate it all the more when we look at the bigger picture. 

Once we take away our individual opinion and think about consumer satisfaction and company growth, it is easier to appreciate process standards. We can’t attempt to solve all the problems we face in different industries where standardization is implemented. We can, however, take them in batches. 

According to Höök (2008), we must ensure that our staff and workers are given enough time to adjust to the new process changes that we introduce. These individuals are human and would, as every normal human reaction, slowly adjust to change. A good understanding of this would save you the trouble of trying to enforce new standards against the adaptation speed of your staff. The disconnection between your staff and the intended goal of the new standard is another problem on its own. Remember, these individuals are going to be the ones working with the process standards and not you. You must do all it takes to get them on the same side as you. 

Let’s take a good example in the construction industry.

Many people still see the difficulty of standardization because they feel it’s more of a handicraft profession where customized products cannot be used. This view seeks to support the fact that construction materials, skills, and experience may never be standardized. 

Then again, we must consider that the construction jobs and operations are all geared to achieve the same results. The lack of standardization affects the productivity of construction firms. If every company keeps making cuts to processes used, we will have buildings and roads with varying standards. The goal is to have the same product with the same quality. We should be looking toward having equal standards of construction materials. The more variety we have in our products, the higher the degree of wastage. 

Since different raw materials are used, there would be no defined method or way of measuring the standard of roads and buildings. A close evaluation of this dilemma reveals that sometimes the problem arises from our project designs. Many designs do not make room for the usage of standard products because the company has not specifically tested the value and quality of the product. 

Womack J, Jones D & Roos in 1990 reported that the construction industry was experiencing huge setbacks due to a lack of standard processes. These and many more are the reasons why you should use SweetProcess to standardize your processes. 

Chapter 3: Process Standardization: Benefits

A lot can be said about the benefits of standardization. We’ll be discussing some of these benefits in this section and why you need to take quick action. You can trust the SweetProcess checklist to guide you through the transitioning stages. You’ll find it very easy to do. 

  1. Eliminating Guesswork and Confusion
Eliminating Guesswork and Confusion

It is the joy and happiness of every manager or company owner to see their staff work at peak efficiency. It quickens operational processes and, in turn, evolves into higher profits. The most compelling reason why businesses don’t reach high levels of efficiency in the distribution of products and services is guesswork. As simple as it sounds, this has cost many businesses their customer satisfaction. 

The only way to fulfill your dreams of building an effective team is by making sure your processes are standardized. Working with already mapped-out strategies and industry-recognized methods will relieve much of your stress. Once you begin to guess your way through the best way to achieve results, you will eventually develop inconsistencies in reproducing your success. Process standardization helps your workers work with speed and retain the quality of products or services offered to clients. You might notice that we didn’t just emphasize process standardization for services: it should also be used in the development of products. 

It takes time for recruits to feel comfortable with your company’s updated procedures and meet new demands. So when hiring employees, be sure to have an already laid out blueprint of the stages and procedures your company adopts for arriving at its results. Don’t forget that many of these new staff may have been used to old and different methods. The processes of onboarding should include taking them through your company’s way of doing things. 

Don’t assume that they’ll catch on in the end. Such an assumption wastes lots of time and makes quality results that materialize after a while a fantasy. A well-organized structure saves your staff, both old and new, the confusion of figuring out things themselves. 

  1. Reduces Operational Costs

When you talk with other business operators, you’ll hear a lot about the common pain of huge operational costs. A critical examination of these business structures reveals a lack of standardization. Standardizing processes helps you cut down unnecessary costs involved in complex processes. There are several data models you can use to shrink expenditure and reduce the cost of production. 

When you spend so much on operational costs, it directly affects the price of your product or service, making it difficult for your target customers to afford. Also, bear in mind that costs and pricing play a major role in customer patronage. How would you like to pay for a product or service at a high price when you have similar alternatives at a low cost from other competitors? Everyone would want to maximize profits. Standardizing helps you maximize profits which is the goal of every business. It doesn’t just stop at the percentage of profits you can acquire. You also need to ask yourself questions like:

  • Can I make more profits with the huge capital and investment I put into production?
  • Are there other ways I can adopt to reproduce the same quality of results?

In performing trial by error, we waste capital that should have been channeled into the right source.

Clients can cut down huge operational costs by utilizing the SweetProcess tool which helps organize and improve cost-effective methods.

  1. Boosts  Productivity

This right here is the primary reason clients keep coming back for patronage. With the SweetProcess tool, you not only standardize, but you’ll also know what factors to monitor to ensure that your models and structures yield higher productivity. With the elimination of guesswork and unnecessary expenditure, your company can focus on what matters most. All your resources and workforce can now be used to produce the right results. The beauty of all this is getting quality results with minimal resources and less time wasted. Instead of spending so much time navigating your way to the right results, you end up on the wrong side without standardization. 

Once you’re able to cut down on time and resources, every other thing goes smoothly. By this point, you have identified the hitches that present themselves during production and successfully drafted out remedial measures. This way, you create more products and smoothly sail past the pain points that held you stagnant.

  1. Improves Customer Service

Your goal while creating any service or product is to see to it that your customers are satisfied. The SweetProcess tool helps you achieve greater customer satisfaction by helping you improve productivity and efficiency. If a customer has a concern or query about a product or service you offer, you’ll have a better way of responding and documenting the response. It’s quite embarrassing to express ignorance over simple inquiries and complaints made. With standardized processes, you are able to give detailed and constructive feedback to clients. 

Record keeping and proper documentation of operational failures help employees give accurate and verified information when a client wants to know why your company didn’t meet its demands. The trust of your clients depends on your ability to defend your reputation and guide them through your methods for solving and preventing a repetition of such problems. 

Standardization can also be implemented in customer service departments. It makes sure you and your client stay on good terms and no one feels neglected. Simple activities such as taking queries, providing responses and feedback to clients, and troubleshooting procedures all need the right methods and reactions. 

  1. Uses Business Process Automation

Would you love to have a system that keeps producing the same quality of results? Today’s businesses are shifting to embrace the idea of automation. To perform successful automation, you need a structure that classifies activities based on their order of importance. Your automated system should also be flexible enough to consider quick changes and help employees make quick decisions. The good part of this is that you don’t need to re-strategize new processes for each product. You should consider adopting the standardization procedure SweetProcess has to offer. 

With new and improved standard processes, you don’t have to worry about repeatability. All your employees need to do is maintain strict adherence to the standards already set. 

Chapter 4: The Relationship Between Standardization and Automation

The Relationship Between Standardization and Automation

What Is Process Automation?

When we talk about process automation, we are simply referring to the ability of a business to deploy technology to simplify and keep running complex business operations. Process automation involves three main activities: 

  • Centralization of information
  • Automation of processes
  • Reduction in the input from people

Process automation helps to remove the limitations and errors that are associated with the acquisition, processing, and communication of data. 

A good example of a fully automated system for a gas station should look like this: 

  • A customer walks into the gas station with his cylinder.
  • A system of payment is established. 
  • The transaction is approved, and the customer is directed to the gas stand.
  • Weighs and sensors are used to identify the cylinder’s height and size. 
  • Different checks are made on the cylinder to ascertain its suitability for the volume of gas to be filled. 
  • The customer is given a filled cylinder and walks away. 

As simple as this may look, the system includes a digital transaction and input from the customer, making a mechanical conversion through hardware and software components. The company can also choose to incorporate communication and accounting systems. 

When processes are automated, the amount of error introduced by human effort is reduced. This results in better maximization of costs, quality, speed of delivery, and a simplified business process. Process automation incorporates technological tools to ensure that workflow is smooth and successful. 

When Would an Organization Use Process Automation?

Process automation can be deployed in different areas of your business operations. Simple tasks such as system query, payroll, sales orders, account reconciliation, data entry, termination of staff employment, and much more can be automated. 

To make automation successful and hitch-free, your company must first identify the limitations and bottlenecks in your current process. Once you can spot the errors and gaps, you will identify the unique methods to remedy such a system. Let’s take another example of the process automation of a refrigeration service company:

  • The customer places a request on the type of servicing operation to be carried out. The information about the type of refrigerator is obtained from the client. Further clarification is done by the customer service agent in cases where the client is confused about what service would be required to keep the refrigerator running.
  • An engineer is assigned to the task and is given the relevant details about the job. 
  • While working on the refrigerator, the engineer records the list of materials bought, the parts changed, and a brief report on the methods used. 
  • The engineer submits his report to the office the next day.
  • The admin team goes through the engineer’s report, keys the information into the system, and marks the job milestones executed. 
  • The invoice of payment is sent back to the client and the list of costs the engineer has incurred. 
  • The client releases the payment, and the company pays the engineer. 

This process shows a repeatable workflow that can be used on different types of clients. Information can be lost at many stages of job execution. Loopholes include incomplete paperwork, missed deadlines and other factors not considered. With process automation, these challenges can be taken care of. 

Smart and electronic devices can obtain data and give users the ability to transmit data in real-time. Engineers should utilize more of these smart devices to ensure they can receive and transmit data in real-time. This helps the company monitor the progress of the job and meet the client’s deadline. 

Most software companies are beginning to realize the need to develop software that ensures data monitoring and transmission. With a fully automated system, personnel don’t have to receive manual reports on materials and equipment needed. It can be sent directly through electronic means. Once the job is executed, the information is saved and scrutinized for any lapses in process implementation. This process can be repeated over time to obtain the same results anytime a customer requests your service or product. 

Whatever industry or tasks your company operates, process automation is required. Think of any process at all—does it require repetition? Would you have to follow similar procedures in solving and attending to the needs of your clients? If yes, then the process should be automated. 

What Is the Difference Between Automation and Standardization?

Many people have argued on the similarity and differences between standardization and automation. The standard involves a defined and standard way of performing processes, including work holding, manufacturing, and shipping. When you standardize your processes, it becomes easy to identify the problematic and profitable areas of the business operations.

Once you carry out standardization, your workflow becomes defined, eliminating the wastage of time on irrelevant activities. Setting up the right machinery and equipment becomes possible since workers already know what methods to apply in solving challenges. 

Automation, on the other hand, ensures that the standard procedures are initiated over time as the client demands keep coming. Every time your company has a job order or task, you don’t have to go back to redesign a standard process. The already established standards can be deployed for solving and handling similar tasks. It is always advised to standardize first before automation. This will help your results reproduce over time in different scenarios. 

Chapter 5: Choosing Which Processes to Standardize

Choosing Which Processes to Standardize

The process of standardization is quite simple to handle. Tools such as SweetProcess help businesses, companies, and firms organize their processes according to standard. This chapter would help you know what areas of your business you may need to standardize and the steps to implementing such. 

Payroll Processing

The payroll process is the most complex system of some businesses. The reason is that many businesses struggle with record keeping and effective monitoring of payment systems. The process of standardization should be well documented and shared with your workers/employees. The following steps can help your business have its payroll process standardized and running for as long as you wish

Conduct a Payroll Audit

The payroll auditing stage helps you identify the areas where your current system fails. Ask yourself questions such as:

  • Are my payroll systems out of date? Do they still manage payments effectively with the increasing staff size?
  • Can I substitute some manual processes with automation?
  • Do I suffer from staff poaching?
  • Is my payment structure suitable for my staff with the increasing economic demands?

These are questions you need to take critical time thinking and evaluating. As you brainstorm on these issues, it is advisable to keep written notes of your discoveries. You may not need to alter the entire process. Something as minimal as a method of the report can delay staff payments and make them uncomfortable.

Other factors you need to consider include: 

  • Leave permissions that violate company policy.
  • Excesses in the budget due to unexpected overtime hours.
  • The inconsistency of pay codes across different locations and branches.
  • Lack of uniform calculation of overtime hours during shifts.

The first step to standardizing your business payroll structure is identifying the challenges that make payment a tough or delayed process.  

Create a Payroll Calendar

Once you’re done with your payroll audit, you must create a payroll calendar. The job of the payroll calendar is to update you on events, vacations, leaves, and the number of staff to be paid per time, etc. The payroll calendar should be a friendly reminder of the date when payments should have been processed. The busyness of monitoring operations and supervisions when not standardized can cause business owners to lose track of payment periods. If your company accommodates part-time workers, you need a payroll calendar to keep you posted weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly of payment durations. 

Map Out Your Payroll Process

If you noticed issues with your payroll process during the audit, you should redesign your payroll process. Your new payroll structure should keep you updated on pay periods, keep you within your salary budget, help you manage payroll with minimal errors, and make reporting stress-free. Employees who have issues and complaints with paychecks can be well responded to at this stage. Your payroll process should reflect the following steps.

  • Establish your payroll timeline that shows when each worker is due for payment.
  • Don’t exceed your budget by allowing workers to continue during overtime hours beyond your budget.
  • Verify the data submitted by managers by running audits.
  • Review the errors and lapses your office manager may have ignored. 
  • Pass adequate information to your staff on changes that may occur due to employee FLSA classification, change of address, etc.
  • Perform necessary adjustments to the pay by considering bonuses, commissions, raises, deductions, and health benefits.
  • Review payroll reports. 
  • Backup your data. Many payroll software can help you backup your payroll data. 
  • Deposit taxes and verify transmission to the IRS.
  • Always keep timecards in case a staff member has a question or inquiry about their pay. 

Establish Payroll Policies

Here’s where many people miss their goal. If you want to keep your systems running, you have to monitor them. Create clear rules regarding your payroll structure. Everyone must agree and give consent to any change in the payroll process. This takes proper communication and organization. 

Stick With Your Process

The reason why you developed a standardized payroll process is so that further recruitment and payment of staff will follow the same format. There should be no need to keep making calculations and readjustments when you have a standardized procedure. Even with your absence from the company, the human resource department can proceed with your standardized payroll structure. Document all the stages involved in the payroll process. Also, make sure your managers follow your standardized structure. Following these rules will help eliminate delays and discomfort experienced during the disbursement of paychecks. 

Answering the Phone

As part of the activities involved in customer service, the methods of receiving and giving feedback to callers must be standardized. The job shouldn’t be left for each customer representative to clarify but should also be compulsory for all staff. Sometimes a call may come through one of your employees—what then happens when the customer service agent is either busy or unavailable? People who run their businesses from home experience this. 

Phone calls still retain their position as one of the most important mediums of communication with your clients. The impression your customers get about your company should be positive and not negative. What happens when the call ends on a wrong note? That may be the only impression your client or customer has of your customer service.

Standardized Methods for Answering Business Calls

  • Always make sure you answer a call before its third ring.
  • Always keep a warm, professional and excited tone in phone conversations. Your voice tone makes the customer interested in the conversation. 
  • When you take a call from a client, begin with a welcome courtesy and give details of your position and organization. 
  • Pronounce your words correctly and clearly while keeping your voice moderate. This way, your caller understands every piece of information you’re trying to pass along. 
  • Ensure you don’t use slang or informal words. An “okay, no problem” response should be replaced with “very well, all right, certainly.” Many people are familiar with using filler words and stuttering when making sentences. You must be intentional about your staff’s speech process to become good communicators without filler words. 
  • The day at the office can get quite exhausting. It is the job of the staff to keep their emotions under check at all times. Never allow a bad mood or day make you give a harsh or unnecessary reply to a customer. 

One reason why the client chooses to reach out to the company is to get accurate information on deals, products, and services. It is frustrating to receive ignorance on simple inquiries. Hence the need to make sure that standard processes are well documented and available within reach of any person taking calls.

To make mistakes with customer or client details can quickly lead to lost customers. All information must be well documented just in case you need to pass the request or inquiry to another department for resolution. A misplaced form or misspelled name may end up giving a response to the wrong client or even truncate the resolution process. 

Another important point is the rule of promptness. Marketers understand this. They do whatever  it takes to reach out to clients who indicate interest in products or services, either retargeted campaigns or direct messaging. If you’ve had a client indicating interest in a package you offer, always reach out in less than 24 hours. You don’t want your clients moving to other competitors due to a delayed response on your part. 

Recording a Client’s Data

In the business world, record keeping is an essential process. With the evolution of technology and science, more and more methods of data recording have been established. These various methods all have their degree of access and ease of recovering files and inquiries. If your company operates with several data storage platforms, you might run into the confusion of sorting files that have to be transferred from one office to another. Programs such as Microsoft Excel have generally accepted platforms with a wide degree of usage and easy navigation. As a standard, you can record most data on Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. Here, you can also perform data analysis and visualize the data before you. To adopt a standard method of data recording, the following points should be considered:

Type of Dataset

Different companies and businesses operate with different types of datasets. Your ability to classify each dataset and format determines what data system to use for recording. You also need to have an idea of what you want the data set to look like at the end of the day when making decisions.

Source of Data

Different operations give rise to different sets of data. You need to consider each source. Data analysis should be based on the source of data. 

Once you examine your data, you might notice some discrepancies in structure. Your job at this point is to standardize the data set with tools in your data record system.  Standardized functions can also be deployed to normalize data and make it possible to perform simple operations. 

Chapter 6: How to Achieve a Smooth Process Standardization

How to Achieve a Smooth Process Standardization

The smooth deployment of standard processes isn’t just a walk in the park. It takes lots of time planning and developing procedures. This chapter will help you understand how to implement standard processes in your business operations.

Make a Process Mapping

Process mapping is a simple tool used to make and describe the workflow your company uses. It helps your workers understand the steps that lead to the final results in carrying out different operations in the firm.

Mapping is the first activity to be done in implementing standard processes. It identifies the limitations and challenges every process holds. What are the tools that make mapping easy? They include:

Basic flowcharts: This helps you visualize data and every step taken in the entire process.

Detailed maps: They represent detailed views of processes.

Multifunctional flowcharts: These give information on tasks related to the performance of departments, groups, and teams. 

Engage Everyone

Every businessperson wants an all-inclusive workforce. This may seem hard to achieve at first until certain factors are implemented. You must provide a good working environment as a stimulation to the productivity of your staff. 

As a leader, you should be plain and transparent in everything you do. This will make your workers more interested in your standardization attempts. Always communicate the tasks and assignments of different workers.

Goals for the company and operations should motivate each group/team to do better and achieve more. Develop new strategies to link staff together in an environment that helps them properly invest their skills and abilities. 

Document Processes

This process involves recording and documenting all stages of your business operations or tasks. Documentation is done continuously as a means of correcting and identifying limitations and errors involved in each operation. It is at this stage that we can cut down unnecessary costs and work on productivity while ensuring quality products and services.

Depending on how complex your operations become, documentation may take a new shape. More tasks would need to be documented, and more resources would be needed. Make operations smooth and efficient.

Documentation is a crucial part of process standardization. It gives you an idea of the individual steps that bring you to the final destination. Every time a worker must perform a similar operation, they have a good map of what to do and where to arrive.

Your records can be stored on a cloud platform where data can be accessed at any time or place. 

Train Employees

Once you begin to notice the difficulties of your staff in keeping with most of the standard processes, you need to carry out training. The deficiency of skills on the part of the workers will hinder the progress and actualization of different tasks. If you also have staff switching from one company to another, you should run new training to bring new employees up to date with operations and standard processes in your firm. 

At every level of growth and tasks for groups and workers, new training would be required. It is always important to have a laid-out procedure for each process. The goal of standardization helps you maximize resources to deliver quality outputs in minimal time. Hired consultants or senior management officials should carry out the training of employees.

Perform Constant Analyses and Monitoring

Every new process introduced must be monitored to see how effective it is to you and your staff. It is no good implementing a process that doesn’t yield higher productivity just because proper monitoring wasn’t done. If you leave your workforce to chance, they may not implement or adhere to the instructions of your new process standards. It is your job to build systems that keep workers accountable for these standard processes.

Use Software

Some reasons why process standardization makes your operations more cost effective are the elimination of limitations, reduction of wasted resources and time, and the credibility of information, amongst others. To keep this process running and fully functional, we need to include software. Software is used to manage performance, conduct analyses and keep costs low. There are several up-to-date and effective tools you can deploy to keep your standard processes running. Your tool should monitor the quality of each task, identify growth points and pick out the activities that increase costs. 

How Does Sweetprocess Help You Standardize?

How Does Sweetprocess Help You Standardize?

The need for customer satisfaction is a primary driving force for new and improved processes. Your ability to keep your customers satisfied as a business helps you keep their patronage. Your inability to satisfy your customers can ultimately drive them into the hands of your competitors, and you don’t want that. This, for many clients, is where SweetProcess comes in. This tool helps you organize standard processes to be implemented to ensure you meet customer demands while delivering quality products and services. 

The testimonies of previous clients such as Adam Radulovic, CEO of XL.net, and Zac Cullen, CEO of Cullen Insurance Agency, attest to using SweetProcess to make their operations simpler and more effective.

A common pain point was their inability to maximize results due to inefficient processes, communication lapses, and lack of staff synergy. At the end of the day customer satisfaction was difficult to achieve. 

So how exactly did SweetProcess address these challenges and help the companies achieve customer satisfaction?

Seamless Documentation Process 

Adam Radulovic of XL.net explains how the organization got rid of the clutter and streamlined their processes by using SweetProcess. “It was unclear what to do. Do we retire all the old processes, and then just bring them back one at a time? Just really unclear what to do,” Radulovic laments.

“We had processes that weren’t touched for years. We didn’t have a process of easily archiving old ones that were no longer relevant, so they became stale and made it challenging for our staff to know: which ones do I follow?”

All that chaos was resolved when they started using SweetProcess. They cleaned it all up by migrating the processes into SweetProcess which allowed them to streamline the processes in an easy-to-manage way.

We have already established that no business operation can be effective without proper documentation. The different sections of your operations will need different degrees of documentation. The manual handling of some of this documentation was a major challenge for XL.net. The number of processes to be managed was too overwhelming for the company. 

According to company staff, they had so many processes which were not attended to. They became unstable and conflicted on what methods to take in carrying out tasks. They used SweetProcess to classify each task and operation in methods easy enough for all and sundry to implement. They also ensured that these standard processes were well documented for future reference. Recruits don’t need to experience the same process management challenge; all they need to do is consult the already established records.

Quality Assurance Maintenance

No business receives a thumbs up without quality service products. Once you get this part right, you’re on your way to making your customers proud. 

Both companies attested to the ratings and reviews of their customers when they delivered excellent service. They soon realized that it was easier to reproduce the same outcomes by maintaining the same processes. 

The only way to keep giving your customers quality products and services is to have standard processes. Your ability to stick to these standard processes will ensure that you deliver the same quality to your customers. This can be replicated in any type and degree of business operation. 

Companies can still retain the standard processes and procedures that generate the desired output and keep quality assurance on a high pitch. Isn’t it beautiful that all you have to do is monitor your staff while they follow the standard processes and watch the smiles and satisfaction on the faces of your clients? 

Employee Learning and Empowerment

Organizational goals and targets are better achieved when the staff have a working structure and keep following the same standards. Workers who still struggle with the new standards can be clarified for training to empower them with the right skills and knowledge to perform their duties effectively. This brings everyone up to the same pace, reducing the amount of time wasted on task execution. 

The documentation of standard processes makes it easier for workers to access records and know what mistakes they may have made. Once staff has access to process standards, they can make comparisons with their current style of operation, especially if they have been getting poor results. When you move workers from one department to another, always make sure they go through the pre-recorded details on the operation of the new department. 

For Cullen Insurance Agency, it was always a tug of war explaining and re-explaining tasks and operations to workers. Even with managers on the ground, communication gaps were still evident. With a scheduled training and communication plan, it was easier to achieve more tasks effectively.

Simplified Adaptability and Operations

As you grow in business management, one thing you should avoid is a complex workflow. At this point, you’d get stuck and fail to give proper attention to many operations. Simplicity is the key to unlocking efficiency and productivity. It doesn’t have to be complex to generate good results. 

Once you can establish simple processes that your workers can easily understand, you’re on your way to generating better results. 

Migrating to SweetProcess Successfully

SweetProcess offers its clients different options depending on the type of business. Some companies express concerns with migration stages when they have many processes at hand. 

It begins with the drafting of new policies and standard processes for different operations. Training is organized to familiarize staff with the standard processes for each operation.

At the stage of implementation, you may not want to enforce strict compliance of employees at first. You may need to begin with the heads of departments and management. Once they understand, they can transmit the information to their workers and the entire department. 

Do you find your company struggling with business operations? Are you tired of not meeting up with customer demands due to time and resource wastage? Do you find your business suffering from a lack of coherency in process implementation? How well is your company able to deal with recruitments and fast-tracking the progress of new staff?

We’re sure that you would love to improve your business operations and achieve incredible results for clients like Cullen Insurance Agency, who became front-runners in their industry, and XL.net, who moved from many ineffective processes to processes that yield results. 

If you want to experience the same transformations with your business, you need to sign up for a 14-day free trial on SweetProcess. We don’t require your credit card details for your free trial subscription. Download a checklist for process standardization.

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