Industry leaders are well-informed that back office practices have a strong impact in a company’s working capital, revenues and profits. As such, it is important to outline and optimize proactive strategies to improve the business. In this article, we will discuss five effective practices of back office services to achieve sustainable profitability.
1. “Open Door Policy” for Enhanced Communication
In a modern office setup, gone are those closed door environments which discourage employees and management to meet and discuss things. Physical barriers in the back office should be removed for everyone to have close proximity with one another. The result is a seamless integration of units, hence motivating the staff members to collaborate and communicate directly. Many companies, specifically those running business process outsourcing and call centers, consider the “open door policy” for enhanced communication.
2. Tracking Performance Visually
Performance of all members of the company should be visually tracked and maintained, which does not include only those who are speaking with customers on the front side but also on the back office’s end. This can be done simply by having visual boards where performances of each staff are posted, where their key performance indicators (KPIs) are placed. This will motivate operations to deliver improved work every time while complying with the company’s procedures, policies and systems.
A complicated back office setup will just cause unnecessary headaches. Businesses value simplicity such as kaizen for continuous improvement. For instance, in a helpdesk back office environment, management should advise everyone to reduce paper trails of issues and escalations, remove old manuals that are not used, reuse references as necessary, and combine some processes that they can streamline. Essentially, these practices are to remove wastes in the business process to attain systematic tasks with more efficiency.
4. Lean Initiatives
For an integrated back-office solution, lean management will help to improve standard processes to prevent the recurrence of defects and assist the staff to follow an already established standard process in the company. When there is quality assurance, back office members will have to produce predictable output and consistently perform tasks in proper sequence and timing. Small to medium businesses can research and utilize multiple industry practices and benchmark their lean initiatives as they see fit.
5. Invest in Automated Systems
With the advent of technologies, back office operations are highly suggested to conform to automation of repetitive administrative work and related transactional work flows. Key advantages are speed, accuracy and safety. When manual processes are transformed to automation, information can be processed in real-time and employees won’t need to repeat tasks over and over again, such as searching and retrieving information laboriously. In addition, there are fewer costs to operate since automated systems can be programmed to do different tasks. Only employees are to be trained not to resist from change, as this is one of the problems encountered when a company is new to these innovations.
Given the right tools, practices, and capabilities, businesses can have higher productivity, reliability, availability, and increased performance when they strive to continuously improve and follow best practices.