Continuous improvement process management should be the goal for any organisation seeking long-term success.
After all, it signifies care for how things are being run and an interest in constantly making your business work better for both clients and staff alike.
Staying on top of it all can be an exercise in patience, especially if you don’t have the right tools on your side.
The Importance of Continuous Improvement for Operational Excellence
Let’s begin by defining our terms. Continuous improvement, which comes from the world of manufacturing, is the idea of incrementally enhancing your existing business processes to be more efficient, thus leading to greater growth and success.
Operational excellence, which we’ve covered in past blogs, is what the application for continuous improvement to your processes can result in. You achieve operational excellence when everyone in your business understands how their particular job and role benefits your customers and thus your company.
As we’ve seen before, by practicing continuous process improvement, you remain updated on how your company is doing. You can adjust accordingly to new trends or technology available to help you be even more efficient.
Continuous improvement is at its essence a philosophy and practice with a set of tools and techniques. The key is to involve and engage your entire workforce in continuously monitoring and improving, or thinking of ways to improve, how they are working.
What you want is to identify and fix any inefficiencies in your processes. And a great way to scale this is to directly involve your workforce, who deal with these processes every day, instead of solely relying on an internal or external team of experts.
By explicitly involving your workers in this, you also ensure open communication and trust as you are openly aligning your business goals with your processes. They can see how what they do impacts the business as a whole.
This helps to foster and create team spirit which provides resilience in the face of unexpected or large-scale changes when necessary. They are just as involved and dedicated as you in a management capacity.
If you want to achieve operational excellence, then, it is clear that continuous process improvement is a large part of arriving at that goal.
What else can you gain from it?
How Continuous Improvement Process Management Leads to Cost Reduction
Given the above, it is no surprise that continuously improveming processes will lead to a reduction in costs for you as a business owner. After all, the goal is to maximise efficiency and to constantly be on the lookout for ways to do so.
This can be anything from automating certain pesky tasks to free up your team to fulfill other duties, to cutting down delivery times or getting rid of documentation, technology, or machinery that is outdated and more costly than it’s worth.
You are constantly analysing how your work is reflected in how much you are being paid and making. You can then determine quite quickly how much you are spending over that amount, and then begin to study processes to find those spots for improvement.
So, how do you go about implementing this philosophy in your business?
How to Begin With Continuous Improvement Process Methods
The first step is to go back to the drawing board and map out your processes as they exist today. Involve your entire workforce in this so that they feel that they are part of it, and so that you have the full picture. If you are unsure about how to do so, we have a great blog on how to map your business processes.
Many companies feel that this is a daunting task, and it can be, especially when you are just beginning to map out how your business works. It shows you how much you don’t know, or how inefficient certain aspects are, and that is always a hard pill to swallow. And it is a time-consuming task.
You may be tempted to hire a team of experts, and while they will provide you with a lot of specific knowledge, it is always best to involve your workers as much as possible, it is also possible to do a lot of the work yourself. If you do not embed the tools and techniques needed to truly embrace continuous improvement in your entire team, your business will likely fall short of the predicted benefits the suggested changes should bring.
Your expert team should therefore act as a North Star to the rest of your workers. Engaging everyone in the process of discovering how you run your business, how it actually affects your bottom line, and what effect each worker’s contribution has on your goals allows you and your organisation to hit the KPIs you are after.
But you must all be on the same page from the get go.
A great way to ensure this?
The right tool is at your side.
Use Skore to Continuously Improve Your Processes
With Skore, our clients have a powerful ally for their continuous process improvement and operational excellence goals.
A cloud-based, collaborative platform with simplified descriptions that are clear and understandable in an easy format, Skore knows clarity is key for process mapping and process improvement. Built on Universal Process Notation (UPN) to avoid the misunderstandings caused by other process notations, Skore also outlines who is responsible for what and allows you to retain that knowledge for future use and analysis.
But Skore does even more for those aiming to continuously improve processes.
Thanks to its process-driven framework, the platform helps identify specific opportunities for improvement. It can capture and demonstrate ROI thanks to its Quantify features which provide you with a dashboard of company analytics at the snap of your fingers.
You can then use these analytics in presentations to your stakeholders. The numerical data creates a business case for you to demonstrate to them how you can do more with less. Presented in a digestible format, it will help you gain access to additional funding or resources. Your sign-offs will be significantly quicker if you can provide simplified analysis to go with your reasoning. Resistance to process changes will lessen as you will be able to confidently show that the changes and improvements you are after are driven by facts.
And if they want to take a closer look, stakeholders need only to access Skore’s process library themselves, either during a process mapping workshop or on their own time. They will be able to see all the same data and request a drill down into the everyday activities your workers are doing, even subprocesses, to understand why you, and Skore, are suggesting these changes. This opportunity for high-level stakeholders to have such a comprehensive overview of your business is a game changer for sign-off speed.
You are visually aligning your business process to the business goals, demonstrating how your changes will lead to improvement for both your workers and your stakeholders in one fell swoop.
Through Skore, anyone involved in your business and its processes can is directly involved via the platform. Our process review encourages users to create calendars and reminders to constantly seek improvement points or think about what changes can be made, and comment accordingly.
All of these can be tracked and taken into account whenever it’s time to do a wider analysis of the process. And it means that, simply by utilising the platform, you are constantly improving your processes and thinking about how you can make it more efficient as a company.
You do not need to hold large workshops on a monthly basis or have weekly meetings that could have been an email. You do not even have to set up reminders for yourself to think about your processes.
With Skore, all of this can be set up directly by the platform, and then delegated to the appropriate team members. Our goal was to create a collaborative process mapping and management platform, with a focus on the philosophies behind business process management. As every company is aiming for operational excellence, being able to help companies aiming for continuous improvement processes was one of our top priorities.
Every business, whether they are aware of it or not, is run on processes.
Whether they try to fight their processes or work on them to improve them is what separates a successful venture from one that may not last long.
With Skore, we hope to help as many businesses interested in constantly improving and growing as possible.