Service businesses typically complete a standard set of activities to deliver a project for a client.
While every client and their objectives are unique, standardising the way you approach each project enables you to increase efficiency and ultimately produce better results.
In this blog post, we explain how standardising your job management processes will help improve the way you run your business and provide resources to help you get started.
What is process standardisation?
Process standardisation involves establishing a set of rules and methodologies for the specific tasks (or sequence of tasks) that you complete to carry out business operations.
Standardising your processes often starts with documenting the way you’re currently doing things (using checklists, spreadsheets or workflow diagrams) to identify redundancies or highly manual activities that could be improved with technology or process changes.
Clearly outlining the steps required to complete a task, who should be involved, and when they should be completed can help your team produce reliable results, compare performance against previous jobs and accurately predict future outcomes.
Why should service businesses standardise their processes?
Standardising your job management processes (everything from how your team submits timesheets to how you invoice clients) can unlock several benefits for your business. We’ve listed a few reasons why your business should apply standardisation to your workflow below.
1. Your team can complete work more efficiently
When processes are clearly defined, your team knows exactly what to do and when to do it. Instead of wasting time trying to figure out the best way to carry out a task or rely on others for instructions, staff are empowered to deliver work efficiently and independently.
In addition, the exercise of documenting your workflows can highlight inefficient processes (and then help you understand how to introduce more efficient systems).
2. You can produce more reliable results for your clients
Standardisation helps your team execute tasks consistently over time, which enables you to accurately estimate and deliver on a job for a client. With increased clarity, staff will make fewer mistakes and avoid unnecessary project setbacks, allowing you to keep projects running smoothly and progressing on schedule.
As a result, clients know they can expect the same high-quality end product, every time, and develop trust in your firm.
3. You have a better ability to plan for the future
Standardised processes set the foundation for better performance and productivity reporting. When tasks are consistently completed the same way, you can more reliably compare results from one job to another, understand your benchmarks, and apply that insight to predict future performance.
For example, when you’re planning for an upcoming job, you can leverage insight from previous tasks of similar jobs to answer questions such as:
- Can I offer a discount to a client while maintaining our target profit margins?
- Do I need to make adjustments to our cost estimation based on the last project’s actual costs?
- Do I need to hire additional resources to take on a project of this scale or will my team have the available capacity to handle this work?
4. You have a better understanding of how to leverage technology in your workflow
Technology is key to making your job management process more efficient (especially cloud-based tools, which are essential for working remotely). However, it’s most helpful if you’ve carefully mapped out your processes and understand the specific inefficiencies you’re trying to resolve.
For example, if you’ve identified that one of your staff members spends one week each month processing timesheets to invoice clients, you can look for a better time tracking solution that could help automate this process and save your team a significant amount of time.
5. You create an optimisation mindset for your whole team
When you apply systematic thinking to your job management cycle, you’ll find that increased project efficiency is just the beginning. Looking for ways to leverage technology and standardise your processes will influence the way that your team thinks about business improvement as a whole.
Paul Gardner, CEO of Fresh Accounting and WorkflowMax implementation partner, has experienced this shift with his clients firsthand: “The moment our client moved to cloud project management, not only did their systems change, but their processes changed too. All of a sudden they were collecting weekly time sheets, generating weekly reports, and giving weekly updates – and this approach impacted every area of their business, from sales to marketing to customer support.”
Improve your processes with our job management checklists
As mentioned, standardisation often starts with documenting your processes. To help you get started with this, we spoke with leaders at architecture and design, engineering, and IT consulting firms to understand how they systematically approach their job cycle and used their insights to create a series of job management checklists..
Our checklists will help you map out your own job management workflow so you can start to experience the benefits of process standardisation.
Download the checklist that best suits your business (for free!) using the links below:
- 🏗 Job Management Checklist for Architecture & Design Firms
- 📐 Job Management Checklist for Engineering Firms
- ⚙️ Job Management Checklist for IT Consultancies