Continuous Process Improvement doesn’t have to be hard.
As we come to the end of the year most of us are turning our attention to 2023 and finalising our plans for the year. Through 2021 and 2022 we met a lot of teams that had a vision to build more agile and resilient businesses.
The experience of the pandemic, supply chain disruption, the great resignation, conflict and high inflation, all in a short space of time, has taught most businesses they need to be ready for the unexpected.
While the vision was clear, a lot of teams are finding it difficult to plan for and get started.
Something that touches every part of a business is complicated. With a large number of stakeholders involved it can feel like herding cats. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Over the years we’ve learnt these 4 simple steps that can help teams across a business develop an agile and resilient mindset.
Step 1 – Standardise processes with a simple common language
Using a simple common language ensures that everyone understands and is aligned with how things work today, rather than a small group of experts. This is your foundation and it doesn’t need to be extensive. Start with one process, or one team, and just start documenting in one simple way. The benefits include:
* Capturing valuable knowledge before it escapes the business
* Helps teams avoid duplicating effort
* Allows you to agree and share best practices
* Reduces the amount of time people are spending searching for information
Step 2 – Identify wasted time and effort
We’ve seen time and again that previously undocumented processes are typically hiding between 10 and 20% of wasted time or cost. In fact this year we had one client that identified over 90% of the time spent on one process to be wasted. Once you’ve documented your processes apply some simple tools such as Lean waste or a Risk analysis to find improvements. The benefits include:
* Find hidden inefficiencies
* Highlight risks
* Uncover automation opportunities
Step 3 – Remove the waste
Sometimes you’ll find low hanging fruit, inefficiencies that can be easily fixed as soon as they’ve been identified. But in most cases, removing the 10 to 20% waste you find in your processes will need to be planned and implemented carefully. So spend some time exploring different scenarios by designing different versions of the process. Then compare your new process with the original to understand the gaps and then build a plan for how to fill them. The benefits here include:
* Ability to predict the outcome of different approaches
* Clear view of the dependencies
* Clearly communicate the impact to everyone
Step 4 – Continuously review and improve
At this point the heavy lifting is done. The major improvements have been identified and implemented. So to avoid them returning you need to put in place a system for continuous review and update. For each process ensure there is a clear owner and schedule regular reviews. Make sure the processes are visible to everyone in the organisation. The benefits of this include:
* Each team can continuously optimise their own processes
* Drives ownership and accountability
* Makes processes transparent for all
Skore has been designed to deliver these 4 steps and take away a lot of the effort typically required to develop and build such an approach. If you’d like to learn more about how Skore can help you on your journey to an agile and resilient business, get in touch with one of our experts.