Process improvement is a simple yet powerful idea. It is how businesses identify the parts of their business processes where they can increase their profit margins, cut down on expenditures, and speed up their operational timelines.
It’s not a radical or new concept–it was introduced by James Harrington as early on as 1991–but it’s especially important in today’s ever changing, ever competitive business world.
There are a lot of methods and techniques through which a company identifies problem areas in their business processes. These process improvement techniques can analyze not only processes, but also design improvements that can help scale processes once the business grows larger.
Processes that perform flawlessly can give your firm (and earnings) new life, while inefficient processes might even bring about the demise of your organization. Even Bill Gates has a rule of thumb:“A lousy process will consume ten times as many hours as the work itself requires.” And as a process improvement consultancy who spends a great deal of time thinking about this stuff, we completely agree with him.
But why should you be concerned with process improvement when you have so many other things to think about?
The time someone spends performing a pointless and redundant process may have been used more effectively elsewhere. In fact, it almost certainly could have been. Not only is that a waste of your money but when inefficient processes are slowing them down employees become frustrated, stressed and disillusioned. All things that you certainly don’t want them to be.
Processes that are designed inefficiently frequently result in substandard production. Reports might vanish, deadlines can be missed, and staff members can make so many mistakes.
Productivity losses initially affect the finances, which make up the core of any organization. You are literally losing money every minute if you are paying a team to perform work that could be completed by a single person.
In addition to these factors, you’ll want to remain abreast of technological advances, market trends, and business practices of your rivals if you want your business to thrive. And as a process improvement consultancy we can help a lot.
When we work with clients as a process improvement consultancy every project is different, and our services are tailored specifically to your unique needs. However, as you no doubt are interested in just how process improvement might work if you try it, the basics are usually the same:
A comprehensive process audit is usually the best place to start process improvement efforts. When we work on one we are actively looking for opportunities to improve processes, as well potential risk areas if change is implemented. This will help you strategize business improvement, especially in regard to prioritizing specific areas.At this stage, we also need to get an understanding of how tweaking a particular process will impact resources, as well as stakeholders–which may be the organization itself, teams, individual employees, partner organizations, vendors, or customers. Change is good, but never just change for change’s sake.
After determining the areas you wish to strengthen, we take some time to examine the current processes. Process mapping (workflows), cause-and-effect analyses, and operational surveys are the tools we employ to achieve this.
Asking the proper questions is crucial to much of this: Which processes are too expensive and which ones stall the operation they are supposed to facilitate? What processes reduce quality? Which processes are genuinely aggravating employees? As a process improvement consultancy we know that it is crucial that these questions get asked and answered as fully as possible, so we always take the time to do so.
Speaking of skipping steps, which some of our process improvement consulting peers do, we do not skip over the important step of obtaining stakeholder buy-in for the process improvements we will ultimately suggest you implement. Process improvement is not a quick fix. Obtaining senior management support is essential since it takes a committed effort from them. If you can convince the management of the need for the change in the status quo, that will be the difference.
But they are not the only ones whose buy in you need. Even more important is that those who make use of the processes on a daily basis, who are often not management, are on board with making changes.
Many process improvement consultancies overlook these essential personnel almost completely, but then wonder why , once implemented, their suggestions don’t go to plan. This failure to consult with the people who really matter is usually the answer, which is why we always ensure that EVERYONE’S voice is heard.
The processes we’ve identified as problematic, the reasons why they are problematic, and your improvement plans must all be included in your process improvement approach.We
Make sure your process improvement goals are relevant to the strategic long-term and short-term goals of your firm, as well as being attainable, measurable, and necessary.
As a process improvement consultancy we make use of certain process improvement techniques considered industry standard, including all the following:
These diagrams, which are also frequently referred to as flowcharts, are used to visually illustrate the interactions and activities that comprise a process. In a process map, you normally begin at the top and work your way down, starting with the first task and ending with the last.
You can grasp the complexity of the process from the upper levels, ensuring that you have a macroscopic picture of how the process functions. At the most fundamental level, you’ll learn how each step in the process is composed of a variety of smaller steps.
To help you and your team understand how the process improvement will go, we can quickly and effectively create a sophisticated process diagram using a process map, but one that everyone who needs to can see and understand.
Another tool at your disposal when attempting to enhance a process is a histogram chart. They demonstrate how data relates to various variables over time. If you are performing a process improvement analysis, this is especially helpful.
You can learn how well the process was working when it was at its best. With the help of that, you can experiment with different factors to determine what caused the performance boost or reduction and note the same information for your process improvement.
Although histogram charts cannot identify the process step that needs to be improved, they are helpful in identifying the variables that influence performance and as a tool for our process improvement consultancy we find that they can be very useful.
Ishikawa diagrams and cause and effect diagrams are other names for fishbone diagrams. They are methods for figuring out problems and how they develop in a process. Fishbone diagrams aid in locating problems and arranging their causes. They are frequently created at the start of a Root Cause Analysis. This can include the individuals working on it, the techniques employed, the tools currently in use in the process, and the setting in which the process is being carried out.
You can determine where a process is flawed or underperforming and where you need to make the necessary modifications for process improvement using the information acquired from this chart.
Fishbone diagrams are an excellent tool for business process improvement since they can be created fully offline to assist process teams in determining the main cause of a process’s subpar performance or the areas that need to be improved and serve as physical representations that everyone can see and share.
In addition to these and other tools, as a process improvement consultancy we also bring a great deal of real world experience to the table. As a member company of the Pearl Lemon Group the vast majority of the Pearl Lemon Consultants team actively works to improve those component businesses as well, meaning they have real time, real world experience as well as theoretical knowledge.
Process improvement strategies are excellent at identifying defects in current processes and identifying solutions to expand processes or eliminate operational issues entirely.
With the help of the process improvement consulting team at Pearl Lemon Consultants, you can examine your processes effectively and identify their strong points and areas for improvement. Instead of starting from scratch, you can then use that data to concentrate on streamlining your processes and strengthening your business.Sounds good? Contact us today and let’s get started!
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