The road to success: finding the bottlenecks in your process

“Where can we make the greatest impact?” It’s a question that sets you off in the right direction when automating your processes. Once you have selected a problem or process to start with, you need to get all your stakeholders on board.

After all, you want your co-workers, customers and/or suppliers to quickly see the added value of the application you wish to make. To achieve this, addressing the biggest bottleneck helps you to create support for your digitalization endeavors.

Reveal the bottleneck: get to the root of the problem

Where does it often go wrong in your process? What action costs a lot of time? What is a major point for improvement? Usually, it is necessary to keep asking questions for a while. So go out and do interviews and create a brainstorm session, to reveal a key bottleneck within your process.

Moreover, it is important to align opinions on the subject matter: three people may have three different answers to the same question, as they might experience a process differently.

Once you’ve decided on a major bottleneck, it’s time to focus on the ‘how’ and ‘why:’ How do you carry out the process and why do you do so in this particular way? By asking these types of questions, you discover the root of the problem.

This allows you to look for a solution. Remember that the most logical one isn’t always the best option. So, join forces and brainstorm away to figure out what solution best fits your organization.

An example: on-boarding new employees

Is the above still a bit abstract? Here’s a practical example: the on-boarding process of new employees. Usually, this process starts in the HRM department when a vacancy is posted. Once a new employee has been selected, certain actions need to be completed before he or she can start working for the company: a new laptop and cell phone must be arranged, and the new employee will need their own account to access the company’s data.

Multiple people and multiple departments are involved in the process, and any delays cause the entire chain to stagnate. If, for example, the new account is requested through email, it ends up on a large pile, where it is bound to be forgotten. This can be a major bottleneck.

Now, if you build an application to control and monitor the process, that automatically sends reminders and forwards the process to the next person responsible upon completion of each step, you will instantly see a huge improvement – in terms of both speed and efficiency!

Author: Rutger Boomars

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