The first big challenge of launching a business is developing a quality product that people want. Then you have to focus on getting your product out to the masses and convincing people to buy it. But once you have a demand, proof of concept, and sales, efficiency becomes the name of the game. If you want your business to grow, it has to be efficient.
What Are Bottlenecks?
A bottleneck is precisely what it sounds like: A point in a process where things slow down and capacity becomes limited for one reason or another.
“Presented otherwise, it is a point in the development flow at which the arriving work cannot be handled as fast as it arrives, leading to a longer cycle time of the whole process of development,” Kanbanize explains.
The term “bottleneck” is commonly used in manufacturing and supply chains to discuss points where production stalls. But it can also be used to discuss points of friction in other areas of business, including elements such as communications or marketing.
The short-term impact of a bottleneck is frustration, confusion, and temporary productivity loss. Long-term results of prolonged bottlenecks may include revenue loss, lower profitability, negative customer experience, and/or strained employee relationships.
5 Tips for Greater Efficiency in Your Business
Want to create a more efficient and productive business? It starts with addressing key bottlenecks and alleviating the pressure they’ve created. Here are some suggestions you may find useful:
Identify Your Biggest Bottlenecks
Start by making a list of all of the bottlenecks that are obvious to you. Then prioritize these bottlenecks by where they occur within various processes. The closer an issue occurs to the start of a process, the more problematic it is.
Take a supply chain bottleneck, for example. A bottleneck that occurs with the initial manufacturing of the product will probably be more constricting than one that occurs in picking and packing. Why? Because the manufacturing bottleneck slows down everything that follows – a.k.a. the entire process. The pick and packing bottleneck is still frustrating, but it’s not quite as impactful.
Once you’ve created a prioritized list, you can work your way through various processes in a sequential and logical manner that frees up resources and promotes efficiency from start to finish.
Communication plays a vital role in addressing bottlenecks and supercharging your growth. If you want to improve your ability to tackle these friction points and quickly relieve the pressure, you should look for ways to speed up your feedback loops.
One suggestion is to switch from email to SMS. When leveraged as an internal mode of communication within your organization, text messages can improve the speed of delivery, produce higher open rates, and shorten costly delays.
Listen to the Right People
With your communication processes figured out, it’s time to refine your feedback loops so that you’re able to implement the appropriate corrective actions.
When addressing a bottleneck, work alongside the people who are hands-on with that part of the process on a daily basis. Ask for their honest feedback and get a pulse on what’s happening. Their insights may prove to be invaluable.
Simplify the Complex
Fewer moving parts is often the best antidote to a chokepoint. By peeling back the layers of a complex process and eliminating anything that makes life tougher on the people and processes involved, you can increase your focus and drive greater efficiency.
If you can do something with three” parts,” rather than five, do it! It might not look as fancy or produce a flashy result, but speed and dependability are more important.
Identify and Track the Right KPIs
Subjective analysis can be important, but it’ll get you in trouble more often than not. When it comes to bottlenecks, identify and track specific key performance indicators (KPIs). After tracking these metrics for a few weeks or months, you’ll get a feel for the benchmarks and how you’re doing (good or bad) in respect to these thresholds.
Get Your Business Back on Track
You might not think you have any bottlenecks, but don’t be so sure. Very few businesses operate as efficiently as they could. While you might not currently have any serious bottlenecks, there are almost certainly smaller issues to be addressed. By dealing with them sooner rather than later, you can ensure they don’t become more serious sticking points later on. Get to work!