Process improvement – Where do we start?
In my experience there is always someone in the organization that has something they want to do differently or knows an improvement that just must be done. When you start on the journey this is something that you will need to manage carefully, selecting the right improvements to create impact that people can see reasonably quickly to spur on the enthusiasm. You may be surprised by the response but be reassured that when people see that there is a method and order to the way of doing it they will be patient, as long as they are getting plenty of communication. The best approach is to keep it simple – jargon and buzz word free. The more normal it feels, by this I mean no huge launch just simple communication, the more it will eventually become second nature. I plan to discuss launches later in the Year so watch out for this one I it should be a good debate.
So we need a starting point. My key advice is to be absolutely clear on what you are trying to achieve and why from the start. Most commonly there will be an area that has been the focus of many a meeting, a recent problem on a project or even a customer complaint. These start to raise the questions about why or how things are done and maybe how other companies are carrying out things differently. In my opinion the following list covers some of the key areas that gain results in the initial focus period. This is not an exhaustive list but from experience brings up key metrics that become a good measurement base when focusing on improvement.
- Customer Perception / Feedback
- Efficiency of the Business Processes
- Supplier chain relationships (Internal & External)
- Profit and loss (Financial analysis)
- Employee satisfaction
- Competitor Benchmarks
You of course may find that one or more of these are not measured in a way that can be easily translated to judge performance. There is one of your starting points! Try to limit yourself on just a few areas to start off with; you can come back to this review again.
Next installment: Focusing your goals into an improvement project..