1. Define your optimization targets.
This is probably the easiest stage. If you have looked into ways for improvement, then it is likely there is an obvious problem requiring a solution. For instance, you may need to do the following:
— Lower your costs;
— Improve communications between your employees and departments;
— Improve manufacturing speed and/or speed of delivery, etc.
2. Describe the existing business processes.
At this stage, your goal is to understand your entry and exit points for a process, which steps it includes, who is responsible for performing these steps, and what the result shall be. Describe your regular workflow without going into too much detail, yet avoiding generalizing too much.
For better understanding of how your business processes operate, talk to your employees who play a role in these processes. This may be done using outside consulting service experts.
3. Define the problematic areas.
Analyze the information obtained in the previous step and define what the problems are. It is possible that recurring problems disrupting company operations do exist.
4. Define which improvements are needed, and describe a renewed business process.
This is the stage for describing your optimization action plan, and what the results must look like. For instance, you can automate the way you accept your orders. You need to create a form to be filled out by your clients, which would be the source of table data your managers will use.
5. Introduce changes as your plan dictates.
This must be done steadily, in a step-by-step way. Your employees need to understand well why the changes are being made, why they are necessary, and how they will affect them personally (for instance, collecting information will become easier, or they are going to have more time for further learning and improving their competencies).