Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries
Serving Greater Cincinnati

Top Strategies for Streamlining Your Business Workflow

Effective business leaders are always looking for ways to achieve greater productivity with less expense. One way to accomplish this critical objective is to streamline business workflow. The concept of “streamlining” can also be thought of as eliminating as much waste as possible from a company’s business processes.

What is considered wasteful in a business process? Any task or step in a job that doesn’t add value to the customer is wasted effort and should be eliminated.

Streamlining is not a one-and-done type of project; instead, it’s a fundamental function of any well-run business. Companies should always be looking for ways to cut waste from their processes. In this way, they will be able to contain operating costs while increasing margins.

So, what strategies should small businesses pursue to streamline workflow? Here are a few tips to consider:

Focus on core competencies and adjacencies

A business’s core competencies are attributes it has mastered to the degree they have become a competitive advantage. They’re what the business can do so well, its competitors would be hard-pressed to duplicate. Every successful company has one or more of these strengths.

An adjacency takes a company’s core strengths and leverages them to create additional sources of growth. For example, Bic, a company that specializes in designing and manufacturing pens, leveraged their expertise to enter an adjacent market that also uses plastic materials: disposable razors. 

Both core competencies and adjacencies come accompanied by a set of efficient workflows that the company has developed over time. While it’s always possible to become leaner, wasteful steps must be minimized along the way.

Growing too far outside of these skills, however, is a risk that’s likely to cause waste as the company tries to accomplish unfamiliar functions. Smart companies stick with what they do best and expand from there.

Hunt down bottlenecks

Just like a bottleneck in the road slows down traffic, bottlenecks in business processes tend to impede progress. Bottlenecks—places in the workflow chain that slow things down—cause a ripple effect throughout the workflow. They can stall production, create inventories that are over- or under-supplied, delay delivery, and make customers unhappy.

What causes bottlenecks? Here are few factors that might be slowing things down:

  1. People – not enough staff, not the right team, lack of sufficient training, too many hand-offs
  2. Resources – missing information, services or materials
  3. Systems –failure points, outdated, incompatibility, error-prone, slow, hard to use
  4. Equipment – old, insufficient for the job, missing components, breakdowns, too much manual intervention
  5. High-level – no objectives, too highly-matrixed, no leadership direction or accountability, lack of communication

For a company to become more streamlined, it has to locate the bottlenecks, analyze the root causes, and resolve them.

Keep overhead manageable by outsourcing

As businesses grow, so does their complexity. What used to be a one or two-man operation is now a full department of people. To reduce overhead costs, many growing businesses turn to outsourcing routine tasks such as kitting and assembly services.

Outsourcing allows companies to have top-notch expertise without increasing people or space overhead costs. Because outsourcing services already have the experienced, skilled workforce needed to handle your work, you can achieve your goals while minimizing disruptions, bottlenecks, and frustrations. Ultimately, your business is more streamlined and able to grow cost-effectively.

Ohio Valley Goodwill is here to help your business simplify, streamline, and grow!

If you’re ready to streamline your business’s processes, consider the benefits of outsourcing. And if you’re looking for assembly and kitting services outsourcing in Cincinnati, your best bet is Ohio Valley Goodwill’s Industrial Services Division. Why? Because when your work is handled by a large workforce of skilled and highly-motivated people, you save time and money!

Growing companies in the greater Cincinnati area sustain our mission to provide meaningful work for individuals with disabilities and veterans. We invite you to learn more by reading the testimonials shared by our business partners. Learn how they have streamlined their workflow by employing our services, and then contact us today! We’re happy to provide you with a free quote and a tour of our Cincinnati-based facilities.