Your Guide to Ensuring Consistent Business Processes

Among all the values that business leaders are encouraged to uphold, consistency doesn’t get much attention. It’s often taken for granted or ignored entirely. However, consistency—especially in your business processes—is like the foundation of a building. It’s behind the scenes, but if you don’t spend enough time getting it right, everything else will be off-kilter.

Let’s explore consistent business processes in depth, starting out with what it really means. We’ll then consider why consistency is so important before ending with some practical strategies for how to create more consistency in your business.

What Is Business Consistency? 

At first glance, business consistency is fairly straightforward: it sounds like a combination of predictability and habit. You might think of consistency in terms of leadership direction or product quality. In fact, consistency should permeate every level of your business, from products to processes to strategies. Because consistency itself can be so broad, let’s focus on business process consistency.

Business process consistency specifically refers to consistency in the different sets of tasks that keep your company running. Your business’s processes might include sending customer invoices, conducting inventory checks, evaluating employee performance, or setting strategic goals for the year.

Why Pursue Business Process Consistency?

 Now that we’ve got a better idea of what business process consistency is, let’s look at why it’s important. Business process consistency can provide many benefits for your company, including:

  • Measurement: Without consistency within a process, there’s no way to measure its output accurately. You’ll simply be getting different results according to the different ways the process is carried out. In addition, there will be no way to predict the process’s outcome for planning purposes. On the other hand, with a clear and consistent process, measurement is easy. The process’s output is predictable and stable over time.
  • Analysis & visibility: In addition, without consistency, it’s much harder to find the sticking points in a particular process. Sometimes the process might work, and sometimes it might not—there’s no way to tell. If your process is consistent, you can more easily gain visibility throughout the entire process and discover where you can improve.
  • Accountability & follow-through: On a more abstract level, consistency is important because follow-through is one of the most important qualities of good leadership. Your executive team, managers, and other leaders must display consistency between their words, actions, and strategic decisions. Otherwise, employees will feel confused, hesitant, and reluctant to take initiative, since they won’t be able to predict how their leader will react.
  • Employee trust: Through consistency, business leaders can establish a culture in which employees feel valued and able to succeed. When benchmarks, rewards, and improvement plans are laid out clearly and applied consistently, employees are much more likely to rise to challenges and avoid missteps. They will be happier and more likely to stay at your company.
  • Customer trust: A company’s reputation depends to a large extent on how reliable and consistent its leaders and processes are. Customers want to know what to expect when they purchase services or products. Things like adherence to brand standards will increase customers’ trust in your company, which will often lead to repeat business and larger purchases.

These benefits lie at the heart of business success, so they are well worth pursuing. But the question remains: how do you achieve these benefits?

How to Increase Business Process Consistency 

Now that we’ve covered the “why” of business process consistency, let’s go over the “how.” Here are some practical ways to increase the consistency of your business processes from top to bottom in your company.

Begin improving business process consistency through:

  • Strategic, data-driven leadership: It’s always a good plan, before looking at the details, to work on the big picture. Is your company’s leadership team committed to consistency and making strategic, data-driven decisions? Increasing consistency at any level in your business requires the buy-in of leadership (who will provide a budget, strategy, training, etc.). Consistency needs to start at the top.
  • Unified data: It’s going to be very hard to create consistent processes if your teams are working off different information. Data silos increase the possibility of bad data, errors, and both employee and customer confusion. By unifying your data within a central software like an ERP, you can ensure data consistency across your organization. And process consistency is only one step beyond data consistency.
  • Automation: One of the best ways to ensure consistent processes is to automate them. Although errors are still possible, automating tasks drastically reduces the possibility of manual errors. Many different business software solutions provide automation capabilities, and the best ones will even let you decide on “triggering” actions, which means the process will automatically start when a certain action happens (such as when a customer order comes into the system).
  • Digitized paperwork: Similar to automation, digitized paperwork can do much to improve overall process consistency within your company. It further reduces the chance of manual error, and it speeds up and standardizes document review and editing processes. What’s more, by digitizing as much paperwork as possible, you’ll even increase security, improve efficiency, and reduce your impact on the environment.
  • Business intelligence: Business intelligence and resulting reports are essential to improve your process consistency. Business intelligence can help you identify processes that do not yet produce consistent outputs and other problem areas within your operations. Reports can also guide your leadership team by giving them the most up-to-date data that is relevant to any decision they may be considering.
  • Branding: Although you may think of branding as the sole province of the marketing team, it’s important throughout your business. Branding is the main way your company communicates consistency to your customers. But, believe it or not, your employees expect a certain “brand experience,” too. Company culture, decorations, benefits packages, communication design, and more all feed into employees’ experience of your brand.

Each of these practical strategies requires buy-in, a budget, and a dedicated team to achieve. But the results are definitely worth it. Remember, when in doubt, start with the big picture.

The Role of Technology

As we have discussed, technology can be a big help when you’re trying to improve your company’s business process consistency. Software can help with everything from automation to reporting to data unification. One important thing to keep in mind as you’re choosing technology solutions is to make sure each solution integrates smoothly with your existing systems. An isolated system will not do anything to help your business consistency—and may in fact have an adverse effect on it, especially if some of your employees adopt the new software and some do not.

Looking to Create Business Process Consistency? We’re Here to Help 

Here at Laminin, we’re in the business of connection, and one great result of connection is consistency. We provide top-of-the-line business software solutions that can integrate with your existing systems and improve your profitability, efficiency, and consistency. If you want to learn more about how we can transform your business, check out what our customers have to say about us.

We can implement, integrate, and customize any of our solutions to fit your unique needs. Contact our experts today to get started.