Revisit your process-eliminate redundancy | Author: Ryan Gosha | The Capital | July 2021
This is a general guide for business management after a pandemic.
After system analysis, system overview, and potential overhauls that may lead to migration to the cloud, and after using APIs to integrate some systems, business managers must undertake the task of re-examining business processes to eliminate redundancy.
Even after integration, certain processes will remain parallel to the integration process when they are no longer needed. These processes and activities must be eliminated.
In most organizations, redundant processes are an unknown problem. This is sinister. In most cases, business managers will never know about corruption. The corrosiveness has never been really evaluated. In this way, it continued, increasing unabated, leading to a monster organization of various complexity. Even after hiring business analysts and systems analysts to simplify processes, integrate systems, etc., the complexity still exists.
Duplicate processes must be eliminated, just as duplicate files must be deleted, so as not to cause confusion to users and slow down computer performance.
Elimination of redundancy will form a smooth and smooth organization, no matter what you do, it is very efficient. The company loses weight and becomes healthier. This should be the task of business managers after the pandemic.
The following are the key activities involved in eliminating redundancy.
- Process mapping
- Business Process Automation (BPA)
- Eliminate steps that do not bring value.
Process mapping ensures that you document all processes that lead to value-added results. Processes that are excluded from mapping usually do not add real value. If possible, the mapping process should be automated. This is where business process automation comes in. The last step is to eliminate those processes that are not included in the “process mapping” and get rid of automated manual processes.
- Parallel record keeping-multiple sources of truth.
- Parallel record keeping-keep a physical paper file system in place, parallel to the digital system.
- Keep manual processes while automating processes.
- Keep wasteful and useless steps in the new process (relics of old systems and processes).
- Print “things” after the company starts to execute the “going digital” task.
- Print the document that does not require a signature, scan it, and then send the scanned copy via email (Note*, you can pdf the document and send it via email).
Parallel record keeping is a curse, because it establishes multiple sources of truth. In the post-pandemic business environment, the need for a single source of truth is even more obvious. Every company will have that person, that department, and that other office, and they like to keep their records in their own parallel system (usually a spreadsheet). There is always a reason why they do this. Some reasons include not believing that the official system is always available, not believing in the authenticity of the official system, not being able to extract reports in the required format with the required fields from the official system, and lacking an official system with specific functions.
The time consumed to maintain parallel records is a waste of time. It adds up to “busy”, and does not add value to the company. At the end of the day, employees are always busy, but the result does not correspond to busyness.
Those who maintain parallel records swear that they do not hate the official system and promise to keep the official system up to date to match their parallel system. However, in many cases, companies will end up in parallel systems with entries, records, and transactions that are not reflected in the official system, and vice versa. Therefore, you end up with multiple sources of truth, which can lead to confusion.
The above explains the permanent conflict between sales and marketing departments and MD statistics from the customer team or data analysis team regarding sales statistics. On any given day, in most companies, the sales (revenue) announced by the sales team has nothing to do with the revenue reported by the finance team.
The difference is due to the sales team exaggerating sales by adding sales not yet captured in the system to their reported figures. Sometimes the difference is due to the accounting team raising certain invoices in the accounting system, but the transactions are not captured from the source (sales team), that is, they have not passed through the funnel. Another reason may be that the sales team kept their sales records outside of the official system.
Another example of parallel record keeping is the person filing things on his desktop in parallel with the official filing location and filing system. This person did not save the files on the server, Dropbox or Google Drive, but saved them on his desktop, and when he finished working on the file, he dragged it to the official archive location.
This does not seem to be counterproductive. However, when he forgot to drag and drop the desktop file to the official archive location after making some changes, trouble came. The point is that keeping two copies of the same file in two different places is redundant. Aggregated among many files, processes, and individuals, this redundant cost adds significant weight, inefficiency, and complexity to the organization.
The second type of parallel record keeping involves keeping the old physical file filing system. The digital representation of most documents is now accepted by everyone (including tax officials), so there is almost no need to maintain a physical paper filing system. The pursuit of efficiency has led to the adoption of digital filing systems with better search capabilities and naming conventions. Once implemented, 90% of the physical filing system should disappear. This is redundant. Persistence is not proper risk management. This is denialism.
Keeping manual processes and digital processes is another example of redundancy. Most companies that migrated to online cloud accounting solutions quickly realized that due to the automatic matching function, receipts and invoices are automatically matched, so it is faster to distribute receipts from customers. For most traditional accounting systems, this distribution involves the accounting team sending an excerpt of the bank statement to the sales team so that they can obtain the customer’s name and post the receipt to the correct debtor’s general ledger account.
When a new process to improve automatic matching is introduced, the old system of sending bank statements to the entire sales team for distribution should disappear. The new process may be simple, just explain to customers that they should use the invoice number as a reference. It may be as complicated as introducing an online payment solution integrated with an accounting system (such as PayFast). When a customer pays an invoice online, the payment platform records the receipt in the accounting system (performs a 90% bank reconciliation process).
No matter what kind of improvement is introduced, it will cause the old process to disappear. This is what should happen. However, it is not. Usually, the old process will continue to execute, even if it is no longer relevant, no one really uses the information in the old process. Employees continue to do things the old way because they are not told to stop doing it.
The most annoying type of redundancy comes from an old woman who constantly prints a lot of paperwork, and when it is obvious that a new process has been adopted to avoid this, she will eventually be sent to a shredder. The old lady printed a bank statement, placed it on her right, and then printed the entire Supplier GL, placed it on her left, and then began the “allocation” or “reconciliation” process. This was done after the company bought her a second monitor so that she could use two screens, export the project to Excel and start working from there. The old process should be redundant.
There are many instances of layoffs that need to be resolved by following due process, no matter how cumbersome and tedious it is. This is the key to reducing complexity and waste.
Redundancy can never be completely eliminated (PS* you can never stop me from creating files on the desktop, you will have to fire me). The goal is to revisit the process occasionally and remove any redundant content. Continuous improvement is the goal.
After a pandemic, business managers should understand the various business processes that occur within their organizations. He or she should be able to question the effectiveness and relevance of certain processes. He or she should be able to approve the elimination of the old process. He or she should be able to eliminate most of the redundancies that hinder performance.