Every organization has a range of policies and procedures that are specific to the nature of the business being conducted. These are the documents intended to clearly define the way in which the organization will work, interact, and address situations, within the context of the overall goals and values of the enterprise. They articulate the agreed corporate culture and contain guidelines for both conduct and processes, for the purpose of meeting company objectives.
For this reason, your corporate policies are among the most vital documentation within your company structure but, as your business grows and evolves, it is very easy for them to spiral out of control. Some become outdated or obsolete, while others become an obstacle to efficiency, rather than an outline of a solution. As your business progresses, you will need to create new policies and procedures but will be deterred from correcting existing documentation by difficulties in locating it. This is most likely to occur when your policies are scattered throughout different departments, with very little oversight or review.
This diffuse situation can cause some parts of your operation to slow down over time, with the overall effect being the creation of a lumbering commercial entity, weighed down by administrative inefficiencies and communication problems. It is not an issue that is immediately obvious, however. By the time the effect of these inefficiencies is noticeable, the damage is already being done. It’s right there, in your bottom line.
Instituting effective policy management
Effective policy management is a goal that is first achieved through a process of audit and review. This is complex task that requires the close and methodical scrutiny of every department within your organization. The object of the task is to streamline your policy and procedure collection, so you need to approach each department or business area with the following questions in mind:
- Are any of the policies and procedures, in whole or in part, now irrelevant?
- Is every policy and procedure being properly followed and implemented?
- Do any of the policies and procedures cause delays in project delivery or administrative processes?
- Do the policies and procedures contribute positively to the cost-effectiveness of the department?
- Are any tasks, roles, actions, policies, or procedures, in whole or in part, duplicated?
Once you have examined each department or business area and answered these questions for each, the changes that are required to achieve effective policy management become clear.
The centralized software solution
Conducting an audit and review of your entire policy and procedure collection can seem like a daunting, and sometimes prohibitively time consuming endeavour, but the process is made easier by the use of centralized software. The biggest obstacle to starting this vital process is the lack of a centralised document repository. Policy Management Software, as part of a Contract Management product suite, provides this repository along with the additional tools needed to easily audit the content.
- Configured reports and analysis - With fully configurable Policy Management software, you can create reports that specifically support your audit process. This automates a significant amount of the work involved in such a review. By defining your criteria as required, you can generate actionable data relating to the task of streamlining your policy and procedures library – easily identifying duplicated, redundant, and obsolete items, while also assessing the cost-effectiveness of each document. Moreover, through targeted configuration, you are able to pinpoint those policies and procedures that slow down your workforce, reducing their efficiency and productivity.
- Notifications and event triggers - In Policy Management software, notifications and event triggers are also fully configurable. This is essential, not only for achieving effective Policy Management in the first place but for maintaining it in the long run. Along with configurable reports and analysis, this is the feature that puts you back in control of your policies and procedures documentation, by enabling you to foresee and plan for individual policy review schedules.
- Complete integration - Policy Management software, such as Symfact, is specifically designed to enable seamless integration with all major ERP and CRM systems, including the linking of policy and procedure documentation to customers and suppliers. This ensures transparency and, crucially, accountability for all parties.
- Permission-based access - Policy Management software can be deployed on-site or as a cloud-based solution. A web-based policy means that your streamlining project and the policy and procedure documentation involved is constantly accessible to authorized staff, through any web-enabled device. This makes ongoing maintenance of the Policy Management system easier, helps ensure company-wide compliance, and lightens the load of the initial audit and review process.
Your review process does not end with the achievement of effective Policy Management, nor a more streamlined operation. To ensure future success, regular reviews must be conducted to assess the efficacy of decisions taken, to monitor overall progress, and to ensure ongoing compliance. This provides all the information needed for any minor, simple course corrections, which are undoubtedly preferable to potentially damaging brushes with commercial danger.
Full steam ahead with Policy Management software
As your organization forges ahead with a streamlined, centralized library of current, up-to-date policies and procedures, focus falls onto the creation of new policy documentation. With optimized efficiency, your business is able to grow in a more consistent fashion, so it is vital that you are able to formulate, agree, and initiate new policies and procedures, as well as making updates to those already in effect.
Policy Management software enables you to author, accept, and distribute new, standardized documentation quickly and easily. In addition, with the configurable reporting feature in action, all amendments and version histories are immediately accessible, making future audits and reviews swifter, and more accurate.
As is ultimately always the case in business, the proof lies in the bottom line. Without the benefit of Policy Management software, your operation runs the very real risk of becoming unwieldy and inefficient. Since inefficiency is a barrier to profitability, it is clear that the streamlining of your policy and procedure collection is necessary for quantifiable commercial success. Call Symfact today to book your Policy Management software demonstration.