IDD SERVICE WORKFLOW OPTIMIZATION - Part 1
Welcome to the first of our miniseries on saving time and money through workflow optimization in the IDD workplace! Every business on earth follows repetitive processes to get work done. Sometimes these processes are based on the way we were taught a number of years ago or were developed to accommodate a deficiency/problem in another system. In any case these processes become habit and we stop questioning why we do them. A perfect example of this is the woman who always cut her rump roast in half before cooking it because that’s how her mother had always done it. Years later she found out her mother had only cut it in half because she couldn’t afford a pot big enough to cook a whole one at the time. Unquestioned processes can cost you time, money and increase waste!
Some of us are aware of the term “process optimization” but don’t know what it is exactly, others know what it is but claim they don’t have the time to carry it out. Finally there are a small number who are masters at workflow identification, mapping, analysis and optimization (you’ll find out what they are just read on!). You and your team have to perform work anyway so take the time to make it easier, more streamlined, faster and enjoyable.
Now if this was easy everyone would do it. So get ready to challenge your mind and put some effort into working on your business not just in it!
Get ready to work ON your business; not just in it! – Interise
Even the smallest businesses are made up of many many processes. Therefore when starting process identification it is best to start with the processes that are vital to the financial wellbeing of your company for example the processes by which you document services delivered, the billing process, quality assurance checks etc. All of these processes either generate revenue or could result in significant loss of revenue through rare but impactful consequences (eg lapses in quality that could be due to care-giver mistakes or documentation deficiencies). These crucial processes will be the first to show returns on the energy you invest into optimization, definitely stopping waste, most likely increasing revenue and probably preventing future errors and consequent catastrophes.
It seems self explanatory but before you can optimize something you have to have a clear and very thorough grasp of what exists right now. Now that you have chosen a process to focus on (ie process identification) you need to map out the process. Yes – you actually have to create a drawing there is no imagining this. It is an essential part of the process. There are free software tools like Word (Microsoft) or Pages (iOS), or online tools that you pay for eg Smart Draw or Tallyfy) that’ll help you do this but even a simple pencil and paper drawing will suffice. Some processes are straightforward and others extremely complex. Regardless you must map out every step because this is the only way to identify pockets of waste AND opportunities for savings. Given below is an example of a routing process for paper service documentation.
This week we’re going to stop here to allow you to go and map out YOUR chosen business processes. Your business, years of sacrifice, employees, and clients are worth making the effort to do this. In our next blog we’ll review process analysis and the other steps in workflow optimization that will lead to less waste, increased profits, decreased stress and more time for the things that matter.
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