7 March 2018

The 5 signs you have problems in your business process

Revealing problems in a business process is a frequent subject of discussion when it comes to business management. Although in practice there can be a lot more, here are 5 typical signs of a problematic business process. Use them to check and optimize the operations of your company.

1. Unnatural fragmenting of the process

Some parts of the process are aligned and automated, whereas others are still executed manually. As a result, the work is first done in an IT system, then manually, then in the same or another IT system. We call this automation with gaps.


  • Employees from different departments need to confirm information and obtain approvals in order to complete a process operation.
  • Manual data input and comparison waste time and are prone to errors.
  • The gaps in automation and the use of different IT systems make it difficult to control the process from the beginning to the end.

2. The system tries to be on the safe side

Work activities lead to excessive stock. When executors do not know how many orders for a product or service they will receive, they tend to keep a certain amount of products or resource materials just in case.
Process stock is one of the basic metrics that provide primary information about how a business process works. An excess of stock goods lowers the economic capacity of a company and calls for process improvement.

  • Office process stock (number of active transactions) is conditioned by poor productivity of the processes.
  • Material stock means that the planning or production processes are ineffective.
  • In-process stock (which is always there but has to be minimized) means that production processes lack efficiency.
  • Stock of finished goods mean that prediction processes are weak.
  • Supply chain stock is conditioned by ineffective SCM processes.
  • Account receivables are due to the fact that the receivables process in the company has errors.

3. High level of bureaucracy

This sign is common for companies with more than 500 employees.

  • Excessive approvals before starting the work, when it is decided whether the company should execute a certain process instance or not.
  • A supervisor is engaged in controlling the execution of an operation. This supervisor asks for reports and work analysis, and his or her work does not add value and slows the process down.
  • Decision-making during the process that involves interrupting the process or changing the process flow, while some operations have already been completed. This means that the time and resources are simply wasted.
  • Risk control executed by the employee who monitors the process result. This employee can turn the process back to the initial steps or put it in a loop.

4. Too many corrections

During the process, tasks are frequently sent back to the executors for correction or revision. On average, about 30 % of working time can be wasted on such corrections, leading to poor efficiency.

5. The process is too complex

If office processes are too complex, you need to change them. A well-aligned process tends towards simplicity. With time, new conditions, transactions, and approvals are added to any process in order to meet the interests of different executors and departments. If your processes have gathered too many additional operations, it is time to take a closer look at them.

There is an easy way to understand, which business process operations can be improved or excluded. It does not require complex calculations. All you need to do is look at each task as if you were its executor and evaluate the four aspects: obtaining information, decision-making, action and feedback. To find out more about business process analysis, read my article on easy analysis of business processes.

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Ekaterina Mokrushina
Marketing Specialist