Todd Adams, SB Value
Productivity is essential to a strong and successful catering business. When you know your processes could be more efficient, or that your customers are experiencing common frustrations, it is time to take a closer look and make the necessary changes. The tips and tools below will help you streamline your workflow in 2019.
Determine Your Needs
First, you need a clear picture of what is working now and what needs improvement. Bring your entire team together for a company meeting and invite feedback. Not only will you benefit from hearing about experiences at every level of your business, your team will feel more invested in the goals that you set as a result. That buy-in will play an essential role as you implement new policies, procedures and tech solutions.
Make 2019 Goals
Spend some time analyzing staff feedback as well performance results from the past year and any customer input you have collected. Use the information to choose the workflow areas you will concentrate on for the coming year. These differ from company to company and are necessarily unique to your needs.
Create Standard Operating Procedures
If you ever like you lose time reinventing the wheel, especially when onboarding new staff or moving a team member to a new role, you will appreciate having a set of standard operating procedures (SOP). In just a few hours a week, you can record the ins and outs of your day-to-day operations and create a master document accessible to your entire organization.
This not only serves as a good reference for you, but it is a resource for your staff and a way to ensure that your customers experience a consistent product and service from your entire team. Additionally, as a living document, you can periodically review your SOP and make adjustments that increase efficiency or address issues that need solutions.
As you streamline your workflow, you will want to roll out new policies, training modules, and avenues for collecting feedback on how the changes are going. The Cloud is your friend. Use free and accessible Google Docs to collaborate real-time and Dropbox to share large files. There are apps for managing schedules, tracking employee time, scheduling meetings, collecting and sharing feedback. Large-scale change is impossible without great communication, so make it a top priority.
Put Project Management Software to Work for You
In catering, practically every job is complex. Project management software can save you time and frustration and ensure a top-quality product. There are several software options like Podio, Smartsheet and Basecamp to help you manage multiple events, stay on top of tasks and deadlines and keep everyone on the same page. Check them out (many offer free trials) and choose the one that works best for you.
Streamlining your workflow may seem like an enormous undertaking now, but once the pieces fall into place, you’ll be amazed by difference it makes. Get started now and make 2019 your best year yet.
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