“A business that looks orderly says to your customer that your people know what they’re doing.”― Michael E. Gerb

Systems and process, the ‘how’ you do the things you do in your organisation, may seem boring and of not much importance, but they matter more than think.

Inefficient ways of conducting your work can include using outdated tools or technology, double handling information and a lack of transparency in the work being done. These are some of the most common ways systems and processes are outdated and inefficient. Using fax, paper forms and technology that hasn’t been updated in years are specific examples of these.

There are five ways this can negatively affect your organisation.

1. Frustrate staff

Something small may not be annoying in itself, but if it has to be repeated multiple times a day, every day, it can quickly become frustrating and demoralising.

2. Poor customer experience

When your internal systems are weak, your customers and users of your services are often impacted by a poor customer experience. Conversely modern streamlined processes often result in great customer experiences.

Customers using good mobile applications to book services often comment on positive experiences such as not having to re-enter personal details (as they are saved in the app) and being able to make their booking at any time of the day.

3. Dangerous

Manual outdated processes have a much higher chance of mistakes. For example paper forms can allow endless mistakes to occur – often undetected – whereas an electronic form with built in validations can ensure data accuracy and prevent a number of mistakes. Mistakes and errors can administrative annoyances or they can be much much worse.For example a paper form will almost always ask the customer to fill out their name and personal details such as date of birth, every time they complete the form. Electronic forms can of course save these details and provide a greater customer experience. Furthermore safeguards can be put in place to prevent errors and increase accuracy. One organisation that was using paper-based forms reported that a number of customers had changes in their date of birth from form to form, highlighting just how susceptible to error the continued use of paper forms can be.

4. Costs

The longer something takes and the more mistakes that need to be addressed, the more it will cost your organisation. This is especially true of staff, which are often one of the biggest overhead costs for organisations. The cost is both financial and opportunity cost, as other work cannot be completed if staff are too busy correcting errors. Non-value tasks hinder an organisation’s ability to maximise the impact they are making, as staff are pulled away from value add activities to complete non-value, but perhaps urgent, tasks.

5. Can’t grow

If your organisation grows with inefficient processes and systems, it runs the risks of having more frustrated staff, more customers with a poor experience and more mistakes that need your attention. As you grow, the impact that your organisation is making is likely to be greater, however the problems and inefficiencies currently being faced will also be greater which may in turn may cause staff to leave, leave customers unsatisfied and result in the objectives of your organisation not being met.

You may be asking, how do you know if you have internal systems and processes that require your attention? Two key sources of feedback are your staff and your customers. Pain points and/or complaints will often reveal a poor system or process. Furthermore, intuitively you will know that certain systems and processes need updating. Chances are you’ve had good experiences as a customer with other organisations or you’re using a system that the whole world knows is outdated and have a thought to yourself, there has to be a better way.