Improving efficiency is always a priority for business owners. However, that's not an easy goal to reach. Paperwork seems to be unending, which means you or your employees are continually shuffling papers just to stay afloat and paperwork eats into your productivity. If your business isn't as efficient as it should be, consider using these eight tips to reduce paperwork.
When computers were first introduced, the promise was that they'd reduce the paperwork businesses faced. That's proven to be untrue, as the piles of paper continue to build up in businesses everywhere. To improve productivity, take a close look at which types of paperwork actually contribute to productivity. Eliminate any that are repetitive or never needed again. It also pays to work with a business advisory firm to spot issues.
Many companies start projects by establishing committees, too many review processes, and excessive processes. Those items require time, money, and personnel. Efficiency experts frequently recommend keeping teams small and allowing employees to take larger roles in projects.
This isn't a new concept, but far too few companies are taking it seriously. Rather than requiring managerial approval for every decision, let key personnel make day-to-day decisions. That will require major adjustments in many organizations, but the results generally prove to be worth the effort.
It may be important to establish basic company policy, but the majority of policy manuals take things too far. As most efficiency experts will attest, there is no direct relationship between the size of a policy manual and a company's success. A few overarching policies generally work better than countless detailed requirements.
Meetings have a purpose and place, but most companies seem to schedule meetings even when they're not necessary. That regular Tuesday morning meeting shouldn't be held unless there are specific issues requiring discussion. In most cases, a memo or email will resolve issues without staff members being pulled away from their duties.
When initiating a project, set the deadline as short as possible. Most people will step up to the plate and perform more efficiently if they know a project must be completed soon. Of course, that doesn't mean setting those deadlines unreasonably short is acceptable. It's easy to extend a deadline if it's necessary to do so, but it's not simple to come up with a new, shorter deadline when teams have already done extensive planning.
In many instances, companies are organized in ways that isolate one department from another. That doesn't encourage teamwork between those departments. Encourage all employees to view other departments as customers that need to be satisfied. That's not always easy, but interdepartmental barriers must come down if a company is to improve its efficiency.
Many companies have bloated hierarchies. While it's never easy to do so, cutting out unproductive and unnecessary staff members is an absolute must. Reducing the number of layers between upper-level management and front-line workers speeds communications and makes decision-making processes simpler.
Improving a company's efficiency has never been more important. I think you would agree that it's clear paperwork eats into your productivity for your business. That means now is the time to explore new ways to structure an organization to enhance productivity and boost overall performance at all levels.