3 Doc Solutions Process Blog

Improve efficiency and consistency with branded documents

Darwin identified that survival was most likely when species were able to adapt and adjust to a changing environment. The same is true of businesses and this theory has been certainly been put to the test through the pandemic.

An opportunity for fresh thinking

As lockdown came into force, some companies closed their doors to wait it out and hope for the best. Others considered how they could use their skills, experience and resources to meet changing needs. It was a time when old ways of doing things went out of the window and fresh approaches were adopted.

Small, local businesses were often quick to respond. When customers couldn’t come to them, they started delivery services. Production lines focused on essential items. New policies were introduced to help keyworkers. I’ve seen so many wonderful adaptions and many companies continue to explore new ways of working as restrictions are lifted.

“Life comes with many challenges. The ones that should not scare us are the ones we can take on and take control of.” Angelina Jolie

Have you got everything under control?

During any period of rapid change, it is easy to lose sight of the big picture. Everyone is busy reacting and responding to the current situation and that leaves no time to get things in order. When you do stop for a moment, it can feel like everything is spiralling out of control.

It’s important to find time to reflect and sanity check how things are working so that you can ensure the business is performing the best it can be. Take time to review, get organised and get back on top of things.

Process workflow template

As a trusted Virtual Assistant, I work with many small businesses helping them to review their processes for efficiency so they can improve the way things get done.

Processes can simply be captured as steps in a word document, such as a user guide, or as a more visual workflow diagram. For more complex processes you may want to consider using a system such as Gliffy, Lucid Chart or Sweet Process.

To help you get your processes in order, I have produced a workflow template. You are welcome to use it as a basis for mapping out the steps and timings in standard processes.

3DVA Process Workflow Template

This example shows the sales pipeline initial contact process, but it can easily be applied to different areas of the business, including:

  • Logistics from receiving an order to delivery and a request for feedback
  • The returns process for any goods that don’t match expectations
  • Sales pipeline
  • Operational processes
  • Induction and training of employees

If you would prefer, you can hand over the information, 3DVA can populate the process workflow template and personalise it with your logo and branding. Get in touch to discuss your requirements.

What are the benefits of a workflow document?

Mapping out the process helps to clarify every step, in the order and timeframe that you want it done. It can help:

  • Identify standard processes, which could be automated
  • Support resource management
  • Spot potential bottlenecks or gaps in the process
  • Lead to consistency in delivery, as everyone follows the same, tried and tested process
  • Ensure that nothing gets missed

Completing a workflow process document

There are three main steps to getting your new processes documented:

STEP ONE: Consider which of the new processes can work for your business long-term.

Some changes were ideal during lockdown, but are impractical to continue. Other developments may have opened up fresh opportunities or new markets that you are determined to keep. Which have long-term value?

STEP TWO: Create a workflow for each new process helps to map out the steps involved.

What has to occur before moving onto the next step? Consider timeframes – what is both realistic and in line with your expectations?

STEP THREE: Share, review and continuously improve.

When new processes are implemented at speed, there is no time to consider efficiency measures. A work-flow document supports evaluation and planning. Use data and observation to identify ways to simplify, minimise issues and spot room for improvements. This is covered in more detail in my blog Processes to save time.

Delivering consistent services

Once you have finalised the workflow documents, share them! The team may be working from home, operating in a different department or another branch, but if they have standard processes to follow, the result is greater consistency and efficiency.

Your process documents can be straightforward operations guides in the staff manual and can also be of value if the company is audited, to meet quality standards or for industry compliance. As the business evolves, it is easy to keep them up-to-date and relevant.

My virtual assistant services include a range of other business documents. They are suitable for digital and paper-based communications and can be branded for a consistent and professional image. Can they help you to consolidate new ways of working?

Contact me if you would like help with completing this template or in creating branded documents for your business.

Process Flowchart Template: Free Download

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From reactive to proactive work processes