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By Riemy Wan

Content Marketing Manager, Fixflo


OTHER FEATURES

How to make process optimisation your New Year’s resolution

January presents an opportune time for agency leaders to resolve and plan for resilience, performance and growth in 2021.

With most of the team taking time off during the holiday period, now is the ideal time for letting agencies to reflect on their business processes and uncover ways to improve them.

Doing this during the first few weeks back at work will allow you and your team to focus on implementing changes and see efficiency benefits for the rest of the year.

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Here are some ways with which the entire team at an agency can work together and optimise their business processes.

Who are the process owners in your team?

Unless you’re the only staff member in the agency, the chances are that not everyone involved in the running of the company has an identical understanding of how things are being done.

So before you can optimise your processes, you need first to gain an understanding of the current situation.

From new tenancies and Right to Rent checks to repairs and maintenance management, the head of the company should figure out who is accountable for the output of each process.

These process ‘owners’ don’t necessarily have to execute the processes themselves, but they have to be accountable for the outputs. It is not unusual to have a ‘key person’ who is highly motivated and is relied upon for many different outputs in a company.

Still, we should refrain from assigning too many processes to any individual. The process owner has to, in the future, manage the process on an ongoing basis. Too much work on one person could set us off on a path to failure.

Every agency is different - some directors are very involved in the day-to-day running of the firm while others are not. If you are both the agency director and the ‘key person’ in the business, you might need to consider delegating some processes so that you can focus on your top priorities in the new year.

Map, compare and align

Once we have a list of processes, desired outputs and owners, it’s time to get to work and map out your processes. This step may sound straightforward, but it is often the one that requires the most effort in a process optimisation project!

Not only should the process owner document the process, but they should invite relevant team members to do so individually.

Only once everyone involved has mapped out their understanding of how something is done can you detect gaps, discrepancies and room for improvement.

This is when the business management buzz word ‘alignment’ comes into play. Ironing out any mismatched understanding now is key to identifying opportunities for optimisation in the next steps.

Improve efficiency with simpler processes and tech

Tech solutions can standardise and optimise processes in one go.

Taking repairs and maintenance as an example, to complete a repair job usually requires the property manager to receive the repair request by phone or email, verify the issue with the occupier and confirm access, get the landlord’s approval, arrange appointments with contractors and more.

Just getting the landlord’s approval could require a cumbersome process of diagnosing the repair issue based on the occupier’s calls, getting contractors to submit quotes and forwarding all these to the landlord.

Using a specialist repairs and maintenance management system, you can automate manual steps, simplify processes and standardise your entire team's way of managing repairs.

It’s a cycle, not a race

Business optimisation is not a one-time exercise but a continuous process. But this should not be a reason to change processes frequently and aimlessly.

Allow time for your new processes to become embedded and measure their effectiveness consistently. Customer expectations and output requirements will not stay the same year after year, so be sure to review the processes regularly with process owners.

Consistent control and monitoring will help you make data-based decisions in future process optimisation initiatives.

Interested in finding more ways to upgrade your agency practices and scale your business? Watch Fixflo’s on-demand masterclasses and learn from the best.

*Riemy Wan is Content Marketing Manager at Fixflo

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