What makes a great business? Is it branding? The customer experience? A quality product? For central stations in the security and alarm monitoring industry, each business aspect plays a role and combines to create a successful business model. When focusing on the major business functions, such as marketing and sales, financial health and cash flow, etc., it is easy to overlook some of the essential operational functions that impact your bottom line. Here is why performing a process audit is important and what it reveals.
At one point, lean methodology and Six Sigma were all the rage. More recently, organizational culture and branding play a massive role. The organizational dynamic is directly related to positive work experience, and branding is essential to a company’s success. Still, much of the day-to-day operational success of a company occurs in the daily processes and the efficiency with which people perform those tasks. If you can identify inconsistency and inefficiency, streamline processes, document procedures, and ensure consistent, repeatable processes, then you can cut costs, improve your net profit, and watch the trickle-down effect ripple through the entire organization.
The Cost of Inefficiency: What an Audit Reveals
Operational inefficiency compromises the execution of the entire company. The same holds for legacy systems and processes. Once you look under the hood, it’s not uncommon to find outdated systems and procedures that can eat up a substantial part of your annual revenue. It can be hard to imagine, but inefficiency:
- Costs the organization money
- Negatively impacts the quality and the customer experience
- Is a huge time waster, sucking the lifeblood of the organization
To be clear, an inefficient process acts as a catalyst, which causes a detrimental domino effect on your company’s success and growth. If you’ve not performed an operational audit in the past twelve months, there are five specific areas you should review for inefficiency.
- Disparate Systems. Your security business may be leveraging software solutions, but are they integrated? Are they the right fit? Having technology solutions isn’t helpful if they are force-fit and mutually exclusive. The best tools integrate disparate systems and make your team’s job easier.
- Non-Compliance. The security and alarm industry is a fairly regulated one. From variances in state licensing requirements, telemarketing practices and the CAN-SPAM act, to billing and collection practices and parent company requirements for authorized dealers, there are many areas to audit and determine non-compliance.
- Paper-Intensive Process. Yes, we are in the digital age, but the security and alarm industry has a history of focusing on paper contracts, service requests, and more. The more paper processes you have, the more chance you have for inconsistency and errors.
- Bottlenecks. Bottlenecks are areas that slow down a process and cause errors. Eliminating bottlenecks increases both productivity and quality.
- Negative Customer Experience. Everything identified here ultimately plays a role in customer experience. Additionally, some companies don’t even have a viable system for tracking and measuring their customer experience, and this lack of insight causes a real risk to the organization. Real-time communication, data, and reporting will create the best environment to deliver and track amazing customer experience.
Create an Action Plan From Your Audit Results
Studies on the effect siloing have on efficiency find negative consequences across industries. And the general conclusion has been that silos eat up a huge amount of resources, particularly interdepartmental cohesiveness.
Your audit should reveal what has been covered here and possibly more. So, once you have the data and recognize your operational gaps, what do you do? There are three steps you can follow: 1. Make Improvements, 2. Document, and 3. Train, Measure, and Continuously Improve.
- Make Improvements. Your audit will likely reveal numerous opportunities for cost savings and efficiency gains. For example, do your alarm monitoring operators leverage their call scripts, follow the process, and escalate appropriately? Do your systems function in a way that makes data storage, reporting, and customer service a smooth process, or do you need to look at a new software solution? It would be best if you prioritized your audit findings and scheduled an implementation plan.
- Document. Documenting standard operating procedures (SOPs) is essential to creating clear expectations, consistency, and best practices. SOPs should be created/updated to cover complex processes in a way that makes them easy to understand, complete, and learn. They should also be easily accessible to use regularly, and new hires should be trained to them. SOPs should be clear, concise, and prioritized as a useful business tool.
- Train, Measure, and Continuously Improve. Once you have the proper systems and SOPs in place, you can train more effectively, measure them according to the standards, and build a continuous improvement culture.
Inefficient process flow and operations across diverse platforms and systems crush business. Bold Group provides a system to allow processes to be defined at both an executive and operational level. By helping to establish these processes, it brings accountability to various positions to focus and achieve success. By implementing a level of automation to help guide and streamline workflow, you drive consistency across processes. Request a free demo and start saving your company money today.