5 Key Ways
Business Process Workshops Optimize Your Operations
June 13, 2023
In construction, efficiency is the name of the game.
Certainly, at the project level, individual functions — estimating, scheduling and commissioning, for example — must be on point. But that efficiency must be more systemic for a contractor managing the entire construction process and subcontracting work to various tradespeople. Labor resources, such as on-site managers and subcontractors from all disciplines, plus all workflows and technologies must come together and function like a well-oiled machine to meet project outcomes and maximize profit.
That’s where business process workshops can help.
These workshops are designed to bring various teams and stakeholders together to standardize and optimize processes at the business operational level. While a workshop is a one-and-done event, its impact and management ideally live on in the ongoing improvements made through new or existing processes. Following are some key ways these workshops can augment construction operations.
Unearth inefficiencies, potential problems and workflow bottlenecks
To know what to optimize, you must first determine what isn’t working, either at all or not as effectively as you require.
Participating in a business process workshop provides a way to bring it all out into the open. Think of it as an audit that relies on supporting quantitative data and qualitative feedback from staff and/or clients.
One approach could be to visually outline existing processes step by step to better pinpoint the areas of concern, when they occur, how frequently and for how long. Another is to monetize or otherwise quantify, even in ballpark terms, the impact on staff productivity, project outcomes and your ROI. Then start assessing.
- Where do you see opportunities for improvement?
- Are there slowdowns, repetitive tasks and frequent errors occurring in your operations?
- Are challenges unique to a specific function or department or more pervasive?
- Is there a need for more consistency and/or uniformity among similar tasks performed across teams or departments?
- If manual processes are a known culprit, could digitalization be a viable solution?
- Are problems stemming from legacy processes or systems or disconnected point solutions that actually end up trading one inefficiency for another?
Strengthen collaboration and communication with fine-tuned workflows
Creating efficient operational workflows depends in part on solid communication. So, think of business process workshops as a way to open up discussion to help clarify expectations and reduce the potential for misunderstanding.
These workshops help chip away at the communication silos that often exist among multiple departments and functions by facilitating cross-functional collaboration. Not only that, but they also bring visibility to construction operations. This visibility enables those teams to collectively examine each step in a workflow. The group can then isolate the redundancies and bottlenecks plaguing productivity and suggest tweaks or changes to better streamline processes.
It’s an exercise that helps foster joint problem-solving and a shared understanding of process goals and priorities that can ultimately lead to improved workflows.
Save costs, improve productivity and ensure quality outcomes
From the insights gained from the “what’s working, what’s not” phase, a foundation can be built to make more informed decisions that best address business inefficiencies.
How would that translate into calculable progress and results? It starts with how you define “improvement” and how it can be measured to gauge progress. Business process workshops provide an organized forum in which to:
- Standardize processes for different business areas to ensure consistency and reduce the potential for costly errors and inconsistencies in process outcomes.
- Clarify the different roles and their unique responsibilities; productivity levels benefit when everyone understands what’s expected of them. This can also identify areas where project teams or individuals may need more training.
- Surface insights of lessons learned and what’s proven successful from other processes to help identify areas for improvement or to be implemented going forward.
Better control for risks for bottom line, compliance and project delivery
A spinoff benefit of business process workshops is their ability to identify and mitigate risks. That’s one of the reasons conducting them can be a strategic endeavor for construction companies. Some of the ways workshops help reduce operational risk include:
- Optimizing workflows eliminates time- and cost-wasting redundant or repetitive tasks that can hurt your bottom line.
- They are a perfect opportunity to evaluate industry standards, regulatory requirements and your own internal policies and quality standards. Determining if there are compliance gaps with those issues and implementing necessary measures can help lessen any legal, business character and financial damage.
- A collaborative environment encourages dialogue and information sharing among participants — laying the groundwork for breaking siloed communication patterns that can lead to misunderstandings, mistakes and poor decisions that impact project delivery.
Adapt to evolving market conditions and technology advancements
One of the most essential capabilities a company can have is adaptability. Conducting a business process workshop can help construction companies embrace change.
In fact, they may find adaptability a valuable skill as they assess how to adjust to and navigate ongoing economic uncertainty. Participants can consider critical operational questions such as what processes are impacted and how, if operating costs are affected, whether the workflow impedes the ability to react to market conditions, and if automated processes could be an answer.
Adaptability also applies to staying in step with ongoing tech developments and construction’s gradual shift to automation. Workshops can help determine the operational benefits and feasibility of investing in a specific technology, what existing operations may be impacted, and the operational and competitive ramifications of forgoing it.
Business process workshops as a strategy
Regularly reviewing and refining processes through business process workshops can help construction companies stay agile and competitive. Automation takes this a step further, streamlining many of the more cumbersome manual-based tasks for better process outcomes.
Sign up for our monthly blog newsletter today and stay up to date on the latest industry news.