When developing an innovation strategy, it is important to discuss ways to innovate internal business procedures. Spend time brainstorming on the various steps in your internal business procedures and look for ways to simplify or eliminate steps to streamline those procedures.
However, before getting to the issue of innovating a business procedure, there’s a critical preliminary question: Is the procedure necessary?
I recently worked with a company that performs repair services on electronic appliances. The company had a detailed “inventory procedure” that was completed every morning before the store opened. The procedure required an employee to print a report of all “open” repair orders from the computer. Then, the employee handling the inventory procedure that morning checked to be sure that every appliance in for repair was actually in the store. The employee manually checked off each appliance on the list.
This process took over an hour each morning, and the employees hated it. When I began asking questions about the procedure, I learned that the completed checklist was filed away and never used again. And, if they could not find an appliance shown on the printed list, a notation was made on the list, but no effort was made to determine what happened to the missing appliance. When I asked why they did this, the answer was “that procedure is required in our business policies and procedures”. After discussing the procedure with several people, including store managers, I learned that there was no reason to continue that daily procedure.
There’s no bigger waste of time and resources than making an effort to optimize a business procedure that does not need to be performed in the first place.
Take a look at your own internal business procedures and be sure there is a valid business reason for continuing those procedures. If the procedure is necessary, then you can begin looking for ways to streamline that procedure.