Processes can make or break your business; they’re key to getting work done. With well-defined operational processes, your business smoothly adapts to market changes and simultaneously adds value to customers.
Standardized processes ensure your employees comply with company operations, don't skip steps, overlook details, or repeat tasks unnecessarily. Optimizing these processes gives you an edge, is key to achieving goals, and can help you fuel operational excellence. But without it, your employees could lose up to 227.5 hours a year on routine work.
What is an Operational Process?
Operational processes are also known as primary processes or core processes. They depend on the products and services your company offers, but are essential to the organizational function and delivering the end product. They are key business activities your company performs to add value to a product or service and improve customer lives. They’re most frequently used to process input and bring about favorable results to ensure a firm’s continued competitiveness.
Phases of Operational Process
Planning requires a clear understanding of your business situation, envisioning desired outcomes, and detailing effective ways to accomplish that future. Here, process experts create a common vision across the organization, communicate vision, and coordinate actions to achieve company objectives. Planning helps your company understand its operational environment, visualize the end state, and determine your operational approach.
Preparation involves those actions your company executes to improve its capacity for operational process management. Activities include understanding and refining the plan, preparing for the transition from planning to execution, and organizing tasks. You also need to perform pre-operations inspections, build teams and partnerships, get resources ready, and rehearse key portions of the plan.
Execution is applying resources to launch the plan and focusing organizational efforts on changing decisions into actions that bring a competitive advantage. During execution, team leaders can take over and solve problems without constantly referring to management. This often involves building forms that collect crucial information (or input), define roles, and lay down the path of execution that every request within the process flows through.
The assessment determines your progress towards accomplishing your tasks or achieving objectives. It's a continuous activity in operational process management, whose focus changes with each process activity. Assessment measures performance and effectiveness, evaluating progress and recommending action for improvement. It includes reviews to identify what went right or wrong, and how to do things differently in the future.
Steps in identifying operational business processes
1. Define your goals
Clear business goals specify your company’s operational processes, help you measure progress, monitor implementation, and determine if you’re attaining goals.
2. Assess inputs and outputs
Inputs are company resources including knowledge, materials, and human resources. Outputs are the results you achieve after performing certain activities.
3. Get feedback
Collect information from employees or customers and use that feedback to fix process-related issues. Are your customers satisfied with your operational processes? What would your employees do to improve the process?
4. Map out the process
Visualize the process from start to finish and define what strategies you need to achieve goals. Understand which stakeholders are responsible for the process and the actions each takes to complete tasks.
5. Analyze the process
Examine each step in the current process, identify weaknesses, and determine where mistakes occur because of human error. Provide employees with the resources they need and note the steps causing delays or the most time-consuming.
Enforce your processes only if you’re satisfied with the results. Phase out the old process, communicate changes to everyone involved, and actively monitor process implementation.
7. Monitor your progress
Track key performance indicators (KPIs), review processes, and continually improve. Technology and the business environment are constantly changing, so measuring progress often identifies bottlenecks and increases efficiency.
Operational process vs business process: The differences
Operational processes focus more on a single goal, transactions with vendors, and relationships with customers. They are important to keeping your business running and providing the final product or service. They have inputs and outputs, but the specific tasks included depend on your type of business.
Business processes are more general and focused on modifying the business structure to increase company revenue. They include the diverse tasks your employees perform to achieve goals in specific areas of business and the precise roles they fulfill in the company.
Advantages of operational process
Improves Operational Efficiency
Operational process management fosters consistency throughout your organization, enabling teams and departments to collaborate with ease and increase productivity. It eliminates bottlenecks and reduces the time it takes to complete tasks. Automation standardizes common business processes, so tasks are performed more predictably. Your team focuses on core business processes that improve business efficiency and overall productivity.
Process automation reduces the cost of successfully completing tasks, empowering employees to do more with fewer resources. Manual, repetitive processes are inefficient, waste resources, and cost businesses up to 30% of their revenue yearly. Process automation helps organizations minimize errors, and reduce the time and money spent fixing issues related to human mistakes. Automation also frees the money spent paying employees for redundant tasks.
Raises Customer Satisfaction
Operational processes target your customers, so you can use them to create a positive impact on customers, enhance their experience, and the way you serve them. They help you respond to customer queries faster and provide information more efficiently. Automating the customer service follow-up process improves your service standards, provides clients with a consistent experience, and enhances your company’s reputation, which lets you retain a competitive edge.
Boosts Employee Morale
68% of employees experience work overload. But eliminating time-consuming, frustrating, and mentally draining tasks increases employee morale, freeing employees for more exciting activities that challenge them to think creatively and critically. High-quality standards in operational process management give employees more ownership over their work, motivating them to improve the way work is done.
How Digital Process Automation helps in Operational Process
Process automation minimizes errors, saves money, reduces downtime, eliminates the costs of rework, and avoids costly fines.
Eliminates paper-based processes
Operational process management enables your company to adopt digitally powered eco-friendly processes that eliminate paper use and increase efficiency.
Generates higher quality products
Standardizing processes with coordinated workflows greatly reduces human error, adding value to your products and services. It helps your company provide higher quality products and services that align with best practices.
You can scale operational processes up or down at a minimal extra cost to increase organizational agility depending on your business needs.
Automated processes enhance transparency, encourage accountability and keep teams informed on tasks assigned and deadlines. It's easier to track KPIs and get valuable insights into areas requiring improvement.
Provides more clarity
Operational process management standardizes tasks and offers detailed instructions for completing each operational process with a clear, uniform way of working. It also clarifies expected results for each stage, making it easier to measure progress.
Implement Operational Process with Kissflow Process
Optimizing operational processes promotes error-free operations, adding value to your products and services. You can also develop, investigate, and track each process at the task level to evaluate overall business performance. Kissflow's Process is a comprehensive, easy-to-use solution to help your company drive more efficient operational processes and drive productivity.