Every business has its pain points and every process can benefit from being refined.
While every business would like to alleviate all of its pain points, most retailers don't have limitless budgets for business process improvement.
Focusing on major roadblocks to core business workflows and streamlining those operations is the key to obtaining a solid return on investment. Focusing too much on minor pains or overspending on them can drain budgets and result in a low ROI.
Targeting and alleviating the major pain points is the key to process improvement and the benefits that come as a result. It is crucial to prioritize and start off with the most excruciating business problems.
Taking this approach will deliver the greatest results and the highest ROI. Even if your budget is drained as a result of focusing on these major pain points, you will end up with greater results than if you tackled several minor inconveniences.
Minor problems may simply be symptoms of much larger problems. When alleviating pain points, it is crucial to observe the symptoms and then create a methodology to fix or remove the root cause.
In the problem solving process managers can easily fall into the trap of focusing on the wrong changes.
Managers are in the best position to lobby for changes that benefit them the most, even if their employees have more serious workflow challenges.
Losing sight of the primary targeted pain point by focusing on the low hanging fruit will bring some instant gratification, but doing so poses a much higher risk of going over budget and having a lower ROI.
In addition, users in a supervisory role should typically be satisfied last in a large project as the workflow must be in place before any reporting data can be extracted. Trying to do this backwards to satisfy management rarely offers good results.
Implementing a solution can be time consuming because the users of the new and improved process methodology will need to become acclimated to whatever changes have been made.
They will need time to develop a rhythm so they can most effectively utilize the improved process. Don't lose focus of the primary pain points during this transition.
Make sure they are solved before any other problems are considered. Once the new process has been effectively implemented, smaller "pain points" can be diagnosed and alleviated.
This process should not be rushed as there will be minor glitches as everyone adapts to their new process, glitches that will go away in time.
Focusing on alleviating the biggest pains first will result in the greatest impact on workflow, and the best ROI.
Whenever possible, the objective should be fixing the root cause of the problem. This strategy will result in a wider impact on the business, and it is cheaper in the long run than fixing endless symptoms.
After the root cause of the problem has been addressed, allow some time to breathe.
This downtime will allow employees to adapt to their new methodology. Once the major pain has been alleviated, new ones may crop up. Handle them in order of perceived pain, not in a politically motivated order.
The benefits will speak for themselves.