10 Reasons to Document Your Business Processes
Documenting business processes might seem like a waste of time. After all, why would you want to write down what you already know? However, there are many benefits to be gained from process mapping that you may not have considered. Indeed, documenting business processes could reveal inefficiencies, improve customer service, and save you money. Here are ten benefits your company could gain from mapping business processes.
- Identify Redundant Tasks
Documenting business processes can often uncover redundant tasks. For example, you might find that people are completing tasks because “that’s the way it has always been done” or “that’s how I was told to do it.” A typical example of a redundant task would be a report that someone produces that no one ever reads. But process mapping might show that the information in question takes a day to prepare but is then simply filed away.
- Remove Duplication of Effort
In addition to redundant tasks, process mapping will also uncover duplication of effort. For example, the sales department might be keeping records of prospects and customers. The customer services department has its customer records. And, much of the primary customer information is also held by the finance department. All of which leads to the same data being captured three times. And the possibility that the three data sets do not match.
- Highlight the Need for Investment in IT
Implementing a centralized CRM (customer relationship management) system could eliminate the duplication mentioned above. And this is a prime example of how process mapping will help identify where investment in IT could save time and money. Documenting business processes might also highlight applications that need replacing or upgrading.
- Remove Knowledge Gaps
Often, how to perform specific tasks exist only in one employee’s head. So, when that employee leaves the company or is off sick, no one knows how to cover that person’s job. Having a complete set of document processes for a role eliminates this knowledge gap. Someone new can pick and run with almost any role in the organization should the need arise.
- Prepare for Disaster Recovery
If there is a disaster like a flood or fire, records can be lost, computer equipment destroyed, and trading interrupted. And getting operations up and running again fast will be essential for the survival of the business. But, without proper process documentation, disaster recovery will be much more challenging. You might not know what software apps were loaded on computers, for example. It may not be known who is responsible for getting systems back online. Determining the order that business functions need to be brought back online might also be an issue.
- Define Employee’s Roles and Responsibilities
A significant benefit of documenting business processes is that you will define employees’ roles and responsibilities clearly. At the end of the process, each employee will have a job description. And you will be able to set expectations and targets for each role. That will give employees guidance on what is expected of them and give you a means of assessing performance. Having well-defined job descriptions will also assist in the recruitment process.
- Identify Training Needs
A process mapping exercise will also help you identify training needs. And, in subsequently training your employees, you will gain better employee engagement and workers better able to do their jobs. So, the process of documenting your business processes will improve staff morale and increase efficiency.
- Ensure Adherence to Regulatory and Legal Requirements
There are many occasions when a business is required to demonstrate its adherence to legal and regulatory requirements. There might be specific safety standards in your industry, for example. Financial institutions will have practices that must be followed. And you will need to adhere to predefined standards to achieve industry accreditations. Documenting business processes will help ensure that these rules, regulations, and legal requirements are followed. And you will have documentary evidence of adherence to procedures and standards.
- Provide Insight into the Running of the Business
Documenting business processes is very likely to unearth some surprises, too. You might find that are some inefficient practices you were unaware of, for example. And you might discover some star employees going the extra mile who deserve some recognition. It is almost impossible for managers and business owners to see everything that goes on in a business. But documenting processes and regularly reviewing those processes will help you better understand and manage what is happening in your organization.
- Prepare for Growth and Change
Having all your business processes will better prepare you for change. You will, for example, be able to assess the effect on resources of expanding the business. You will have a head start when you want to invest in a new IT project, and you will be able to manage things like office relocations better. Process mapping is the starting point for preparing for most types of business change. So, if your processes are already well-documented, you will be able to react to change faster and more efficiently.
As the above points demonstrate, there is much to be gained from documenting your business processes. Process mapping can improve efficiency, reduce costs, and prepare your business for change. Yes, the process can take some time when you are starting with a blank sheet. But completing the process will likely bring immediate rewards. And after that, the maintenance process documentation becomes much less of a challenge, but the documentation will continue to provide benefits.