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By Dexter Duncan

(Published in Western Sydney Business Access)

Large companies tend to take a systematic approach to business processes by looking at all of their “front-end”, “backend” and standard processes.   They employ SAP or Oracle who charge $1M+ to “transform the business” with on-going fees in the order of $25,000 or more per month.     However, you do not have to spend a million dollars to improve your business processes.   This article defines business processes and gives you examples where you can use software to optimize your business.

Why Business Processes?

–          Reduce on-going costs by optimizing work

–          Allow you to focus on the business

–          Improves productivity by allowing staff to focus on “high value” work

The three “standard” areas where people install improvements to business processes are:

–          Human Resources

–          Payroll

–          Finance

“Back-end”

Many folks tend to focus on improving their “back-end”.    This is usually the financial side of things and can take several employees to process things manually.   A good example of where businesses pay for a business process improvement is Payroll/Invoicing software.     For small businesses, MYOB and Attaché are examples that automate your payroll and/or invoicing by offloading some of the manual processes associated with paying someone and keeping track of superannuation, leave and pay-rates.

“Front-end”

Quotations that are accepted as orders can be fed directly into a system to set up a contract or schedule work.   This saves the time involved with manually entering this information in multiple places.

Any task or paperwork that is repeated regularly can be improved with software.   For example, leave forms, travel forms, new hires, and requests for training.   For small companies, these types of items are accomplished simply by asking “the boss”.    However, the larger your business grows, asking “the boss” eats into productivity.   These processes are common across all industries and can often be automated with some workflow software and someone who knows how to customize it.    The more workflows you do, the more cost effective it can be as you have a starting cost of upto $5,000 for software and a minimum of $3,000 in labour to automate your first process such as a leave form.

For many, the process of getting, doing and billing for work is a manual process.   As you grow your business, you assign multiple staff across many sites.   Throw in a few Enterprise Bargaining Agreements (EBAs) and contracts and you now rely on a manual process to pay and invoice with potentially many errors.   An example of this is shift work.   Over 1.4 million people in Australia work in shift work which is about 16% of the workforce (according to Australia Bureau of Statistics).   The main industries in shift work – Transportation, Retail, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Security & Mining.    There are lots of software packages out there that will help you with rostering, including some that will also integrate with your front-end quotations and back-end finance packages.     Think for example of a large event that needs catering, security guards, parking attendants, ushers, etc.    The software imports the quotation and automatically configures the shifts needed for the event.   After assigning workers in the software, they are informed by phone or SMS.   The software then tracks completion of work and they are paid their award rates and the event is billed once the completed roster is sent over to the finance “back-end”.    See the below for a sample screen of what the roster might look like.

For some tips on rostering, go to http://www.logicsas.com.au

The real savings is when the software replaces a business process that normally is done manually.     The more work that is done manually, the greater need for a business process.   See our website for more:

http://www.EmpowerIT.com.au

About the author: Dexter Duncan provides marketing advice and heads business development at Empower IT Solutions. Contact Dexter at dd@EmpowerIT.com.au

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