There are various ways for companies to improve their business efficiency. Improving operational efficiency has many advantages, not cost reduction. This time, I would like to introduce an article about the merits of improving work efficiency.
Cost reduction is not the only merit of improving work efficiency! Realized in 4 steps
In addition to the declining birthrate and aging population, the economic situation surrounding Japan is becoming more severe due to concerns about inflation under the influence of the world economy. In order to maintain a market share and survive in the domestic market, improving operational efficiency is an urgent issue.
This time, we will explain the merits of not only cost reduction but also operational efficiency, and what you should do specifically to improve efficiency.
Business efficiency and its purpose (merits)
First, let's check what is business efficiency, what it should be aimed at, and what kind of benefits it has.
Business efficiency is to streamline the execution of tasks (required roles and jobs). By improving work efficiency, we can expect to reduce human (time) costs and improve productivity.
Currently, Japan is in a difficult situation with a declining working population and a shrinking market, and further efficiency is required to maintain its market share, let alone expand its business. Due to the recent trend of "work style reform", due to the shortage of human resources, even if the existing work is carried out by the existing personnel, it is necessary to keep the working hours to an appropriate scale without increasing the working hours. The issue is how to deal with these issues, and in recent years, an increasing number of companies have introduced RPA (Robotic Process Automation) as a means of improving operational efficiency.
Furthermore, in order to truly improve work efficiency, it is necessary to optimize the entire department, not work efficiency (partial optimization) related to the department. In some cases, it will be necessary to drastically improve the business flow (business reform) by using RPA together.
The purpose of improving operational efficiency is to increase profits by improving productivity. In addition, it can be expected to improve employee satisfaction and business performance.
Consider improving operational efficiency when additional personnel and equipment cannot be added and profit opportunities are lost, or when it becomes necessary to improve profitability while reducing the time (human) cost of existing operations. However, it is better to think in the direction of increasing profits rather than focusing only on costs.
If operational efficiency can be achieved, in addition to the desired increase in profits, there will be favorable by-products for the company. By reducing working hours and returning profits to employees, we can expect to improve employee retention rates and motivation to work, and we will also be able to invest in growth fields with the profits we earn. You will be able to build a good spiral in your corporate activities.
Then, what kind of procedure should be taken to realize operational efficiency? We will briefly introduce four processes for improving business efficiency.
1. Understanding and visualizing the current situation
First of all, it is necessary to know how the business is carried out. Visualize the business flow, objectively grasp the work flow, and highlight bottlenecks.
As a method, one business is divided into each process, and by looking at the flow, we will see the relevance and causal relationship of each. What should be noted here is not to create a process map from a business manual, but to accurately grasp the actual situation by listening to the site. Measure the time required for each process and investigate the status of business execution.
2. Determination of target business
Once the current situation is grasped, then identify which process is the bottleneck in the business (flow) and select it as an improvement target. Specifically, it is advisable to focus on the following processes.
・ Rework (redo) often occurs
・ Business with the next process
・ There is a large variation in the time required for work
First, it is the process that often causes return and redo from the post-process that reduces the efficiency of the entire business flow. Since there are many errors and work efficiency is low, there is a side that is covered by the number of trials. It is necessary to take quality improvement measures in the previous process, but sometimes it is better to preserve the check system that the rework process was responsible for, and to maintain quality and shorten the time. In this case the process will need to be redesigned.
Also, if the next process cannot be started without completing the current process, the delay will affect the whole. Of course, improving the relevant process is the highest priority, but there is also a way to minimize waiting time by managing it in a single department instead of dividing it into departments.
In addition, measure the average time required for each process, and if there is a large variation, there is a high possibility that there is a lot of room for improvement. In other words, instead of judging the weight by the length of the average time, it is a method of checking the degree of dispersion from the average time.
3. Review using ECRS and examination of new means
If you find a target business or issue to be improved, we recommend that you review it according to the business improvement framework "ECRS". ECRS is an improvement method that reviews existing business processes using four steps.
- Eliminate "exclusion"
Abolish unnecessary processes in the business flow. This is also the case with corpse customs.
- Combine "combination (separation)"
Integration of similar operations and abolition of excessive division of labor. On the contrary, if the scale is increased and efficiency improvement by division of labor is suitable, "separation" is necessary.
- Rearrange "replacement"
It is a redesign of the business flow. Rearrange the order of the processes and consider whether they can be made more efficient. It also includes the replacement of departments and personnel in charge.
- Simplify "Simplification"
We will consider whether the role can be fulfilled even if the work is simplified. By standardizing and simplifying work procedures, mistakes can be prevented and the burden can be reduced.
While refining business processes along the ECRS steps, it would be good to consider new technologies and services that help improve efficiency. One method is to concentrate management resources on core businesses and outsource other operations by utilizing systems such as RPA.
It is also effective to improve efficiency by introducing tools and systems. For example, RPA, which automates electronic processing, can flexibly respond to differences in workload and busyness, and realizes high-precision and short-time processing.
4. Verification and evaluation
Let's verify whether the business is being carried out properly and evaluate whether the improvement effect is being achieved with the business flow reconstructed by the review. First of all, it is necessary to check whether the change has caused a decrease in accuracy or malfunction of the business. Then, we measure the processing time and cost of the new business flow and evaluate whether the problem can be solved. Depending on the result, it may be necessary to consider orbit correction.
To improve work efficiency, it is important to understand the work flow and issues, and set improvement goals. It's easy to get caught up in the problem at hand and seek a quick solution, but don't forget to choose the best solution for your goals and goals.
Furthermore, it is necessary to improve the internal system in order to succeed in improving operational efficiency. This is because many steps must be continuously implemented, such as grasping and analyzing the current situation, selecting target businesses, reviewing and restructuring business processes, and introducing and examining new means.
Decide the management department of the project to improve work efficiency, and let each person clearly set the assignment, schedule, and achievement goal of the division, and make the project effective.
Realize operational efficiency by analyzing the current situation and selecting appropriate means
Improving work efficiency not only reduces costs, but also improves employee satisfaction. In order to improve work efficiency, it is important to identify and analyze the problems that you are currently facing and to select the most suitable means. In addition to business improvement activities, methods for improving efficiency include outsourcing and the use of system tools such as RPA. After implementing measures to improve work efficiency, verify and evaluate the effects, share them internally, and utilize them in the future.