Business Process Improvement Tips and Tools
Process improvement possibilities can be found just about anywhere within your organization. Improving a business process is vital element for any business organization within a competitive environment.
Discovering processes within your company which can be enhanced can be done by developing awareness of exactly how effective and efficient they are. By improving your processes you are directly helping your business grow and become more productive and efficient.
The critical first step to fixing any kind of issues will be figuring out the processes within your company which can be reorganized to be even more effective and more reliable. So it is important for you to know your company processes.
Process improvement depends on creating a strong basis of every aspect within the organization, being aware of what makes the company functions at a higher performance level. Regardless of whether you are dealing with production, marketing, quality, sales or any other type of process the approach is the same.
For anyone who is from outside of the organization, it is important to meet with many employees and get feedback in order to understand the processes and the business systems. Based on the feedback you can easily design a visual map or representation of the processes. At each process step the relevant time, cost, quality r other metrics can be designated so everyone is on the same page.
For example, visual process maps can help you identify bottlenecks in your process which helps the business focus on the real opportunities and optimize the big picture and avoid sub optimization or local process optimization.
In other words these spots are generally where the waste exists in your company – this can be money waste or indirect waste like time, man power or quality issues. Turn to exactly where waste happens in the process movement. Process improvement pushes apart waste and raises value in the business. Discovering waste is really a crucial part of identifying exactly where processes could be enhanced.
Create cause evaluation by identifying the real causes of the issues and focus on fixing them. Instead of focusing on minor issues and results focus on the real causes of the problems and obstacles. Use the Pareto rule as a guide and find out where the majority of the issues are.
Here are the general steps you can follow when working on enhancing the performance of any kind of process:
- Understand the process – this can be accomplished by reviewing existing reports and data. If you are external consultant you should start by taking a tour f the process and talking with the employees at each organizational level, Take notes about key issues and points.
- Visualize the process – based on your data collection and interviews with employees develop the master process map. Define clearly the purpose of your analysis and create a plan for gathering the required data.
- Data collection strategy – once you understand the macro level of the process under analysis develop a data gathering system which will most likely include various sources such as transaction history, production levels, quality records, marketing campaigns and outcomes… In addition some data might be manually prepared by some of the employees in the process.
- Put everything together and identify the bottlenecks – now that you have the process understanding, the visual map and all the required data you can identify what prevents the process to perform better regardless of what is your main focus like cost, quality or efficiency.
- Develop a one-page recommendation for management by stressing the main issues and recommend potential courses of action together with the potential outcomes and results of such an action.