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Process Improvement: 5 Things To Consider

#1: Top Management Support & Leadership - The 'A' Team

It is vital that Top Management is supportive and completely engaged in Process Improvement projects and making every effort to remove obstacles and barriers from the path of all those involved in the project.

Managers must demonstrate leadership. Lack of management support is the number 1 reason why process improvement projects fail.

#2: Organizational Culture Embracing Excellence

Following suit, not only must top management be supportive and engaged in process improvement projects, but they must foster and support organizational culture that embraces the goal of achieving Operational Excellence.

Employees must be on-board, enthusiastic about excellence and comfortable knowing they are in a progressive company where things do change (for the better).

You should reward them with incentives for demonstrating their commitment. Why would they be so passionate about putting more money in your pocket if they're not 'feeling the love' so to speak.

#3: Focus on the Entire Process, Not Just the Individual Tasks

To realize the greatest cost savings, maintain a wide-angle view of the entire process you want to improve.

Often when looking at the individual tasks of a process, you think you've found a task that could be eliminated and save a lot of money over time and then you eliminate it and call it a day.

Without looking at the entire process, 2 things could happen.

1) You may have found more issues along the path to resolve that could result in even greater savings and efficiency or

2) You may have shot yourself in the foot - not realizing how crucial that step was to your business. Sometimes when tiny seemingly insignificant changes are made to a system, the results can be devastating if not remedied quickly enough.

#4: How Does the Customer Benefit?

Before jumping into any process improvement, you should always stop to think about your customers' needs and how they will benefit.

You may be in a situation where you have a faulty process in your back-office processing for example, one that screams for improvement, but it gets the job done. Meanwhile you have a hunch that your seemingly efficient call-center staff could shorten call-times and not only reduce operational costs but improve the customer's experience. Which way do you go?

You go first to the one that affects the customer and improves their experience of dealing with you. Then you can invest some time and energy into fixing the back-office process.

#5: Define & Map the Path to Success: Clarity of Purpose

The second biggest reason why companies fail at process improvement is a poorly defined, unclear, ambiguous purpose.

Define what success looks like, what must be achieved, why it must be achieved, who will lead and who will support and who will make it happen.

Process Improvement owners must have their team leaders and work with cross-functional team members. That way you maintain the communication between the departments and you increase the buy-in from employees.

People don't adopt concepts they don't understand. Providing clarity helps everyone across the organization.

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