How to Leverage Automation to Kickstart Six Sigma Principles in your Business
Evaluating your business for efficacy brings up some important questions about how you can streamline processes. Improving the way your company functions on the back end will lead to greater gains across the board. Six Sigma is a huge part of this. Although it was originally conceptualized for manufacturing, finance departments have found it to be tremendously effective in making things run more smoothly.
Balance compliance with practicality
Procedure changes tend to build on each other and create a strange mixture of tasks for different types of purchases. These are generally well-intentioned changes, designed to meet specific needs for vendors, managers, or someone else along the pipeline. But there are often downstream ramifications.
The same issue arises when trying to maintain full compliance—no small endeavor. In trying to achieve this, a lot of businesses experience difficulty and see confusion and slow turnaround times. Variation is a natural part of any business and trying to completely standardize every last detail is often more trouble than it’s worth. However, catching the majority of exceptions and issues early on in the process is one of the easiest ways to simplify.
Automation software simplifies big changes
Software packages have been making it easier than ever before to get a handle on your processes. When technology first started to expand, providers realized the opportunity to make real changes and benefit businesses trying to make financial practices more efficient.
Incredibly small alterations, like the introduction of duplicate checking to Purchase Orders or electronic invoice submission, can have significant ripples that create improvements in multiple departments.
A good software provider will make sure that changes serve multiple purposes. Approval processes previously had much longer turnaround times. Introducing a software platform with automation and escalations cut that time into a fraction of what it used to be while adding an extra layer of audit transparency.
In a software-based environment, one-off processes are exceedingly difficult to achieve without executive support. Users are forced to follow the prescribed path for that type of expense, be it a PO for office supplies, an expense report, or invoice processing.
Fully utilize your team to find improvement opportunities
Look at variations in your process as opportunities for improvement. Remember that Six Sigma exists in the future tense. It gives guidance in improvements that are ongoing for processes that have already been put into place. It gives insight into streamlining.
In order to keep this up effectively, an open flow of communication throughout the organization is absolutely necessary. Internal input can be highly beneficial in unexpected ways. Some employees may have unexpectedly fresh insights and great ideas to help make their department run more smoothly. By the same token, some employees may have identified specific needs within their department that need to be addressed. Missing out on either side of the equation keeps your practices from being as good as they could be.
By the same token, some employees may have identified specific needs within their department that need to be addressed. Missing out on either side of the equation keeps your practices from being as good as they could be.
Let software do the heavy lifting
Using a software partner to bring Six Sigma ideology to your business is a simple, effective way to get everything you need while reducing the amount of heavy lifting needed internally. Tap the thinkers and the doers in your organization to decide what you need to succeed. Then, let your software partner implement and manage your changes for maximum effectiveness.