Mckinsey Process Improvement

January 6, 2023

One of the biggest hurdles to improvement in almost any area is process. A process is simply how you do things, typically starting with someone doing that thing for a long time and then people coming along after them changing little or nothing about it.

Businesses thrive on innovation, but too often these innovations are just tweaks to an already good system that helps make it even better. More significant changes require re-engineering the process, something that’s much more difficult than altering a product line or picking new colors for your logo.

That’s why most businesses never seriously consider making big changes like restructuring their organization, abandoning legacy technology, or moving into totally different markets. It’s just not practical.

It takes a lot of effort to change processes, and very few people have the drive to keep pushing through that obstacle until they get past it. That’s why most business leaders learn this lesson when they’re in their twenties, before responsibilities increase and inertia sets in.

Fortunately, there’s another way. You can start by studying what other successful companies did to come up with this idea yourself. This article will talk about one such company and its dramatic process improvements.

Measure your processes

mckinsey process improvement

The first step in process improvement is to measure your current processes, and then compare them with those of similar organizations to determine where you can improve.

You should also evaluate whether these improvements will result in significant changes or if they are small tweaks.

It’s important to note that even modest process improvements usually make a big difference!

For example, an average savings of just one percent from the best practices we’ve identified can add up quickly over time – especially when you’re talking about billions of dollars in revenue every year.

By applying efficient procedures and getting rid of waste, you can save lots of money which you can invest back into your business for growth.

In fact, according to our research, improved efficiency is the number one factor behind successful company expansions.

That’s why it’s so crucial to focus not only on what steps you could take to enhance productivity now, but also on how to maximize returns on these investments.

Look for weaknesses

mckinsey process improvement

Even if everything is going well, there are still opportunities to make improvements. You can find these by looking for systematic weaknesses in how things get done.

There are many tools available that help you do this. For example, you could use performance reviews to determine whether people are given appropriate responsibility and rewards proportionate with their achievements.

You could also evaluate whether employees’ personal lives affect their work performance. If they feel stressed or overwhelmed because of something outside of the office, it might negatively impact their productivity and efficiency.

On the other hand, if an employee learns about someone else’s success and this boosts his/her own self-confidence, then he/she may be more likely to spread that positive energy to others.

Make improvements

mckinsey process improvement

This is not an easy thing to do, but it can make a big difference at your organization. You should be aware of how things are done around you and if there are any processes that seem inefficient or outdated.

There’s no need to completely reinvent the wheel, but you can improve upon what exists. By introducing changes in steps, you can more easily see results and avoid mistakes that could destroy trust in your department or in the company as a whole.

At its most basic level, process improvement means making better use of resources and equipment to get job assignments done faster and more efficiently.

It also means reevaluating what needs to be done and finding ways to streamline the process. For example, maybe someone outside your team has been doing a similar task for too long so now they take longer than necessary. Or perhaps there’s a lot of back-and-forth emailing happening because nothing has set standards.

By taking time to review these things, you will save both energy and money for the organization.

Take baby steps

mckinsey process improvement

Even very significant process changes usually start with something much more modest, such as altering one small part of the process. This is what many companies do when they reengineer their internal processes or launch a new product line.

They make incremental changes to see how things work before making bigger leaps. It can be hard to get people to agree to make these changes, though-and once they have it takes time to implement them!

But you must begin somewhere, even if your goal is big. You can’t expect progress towards your goal without taking some smaller steps along the way.

That’s why it’s important to choose an element of the current process that you think could use changing, but that won’t hurt too much otherwise. Make every effort not to change anything that makes up the majority of the process’s length, or else you risk creating a completely different process instead of just tweaking the old one.

Test your processes

mckinsey process improvement

A process is anything that you do consistently to achieve an objective. For example, when you exercise, you have a process that includes getting dressed, going to the gym, exercising at the right time, and coming back home after your workout.

Processes are how most of us get through our daily lives. We have organizationalized this into routines we follow every day. When it works, they make life more efficient and effective.

But what if there was another way? What if there were never no job to do because someone else always has done it better, faster, or both?

That’s why testing out different processes is so important. You will find not just one that works for you, but many! And you can keep doing what works while also trying something new. This continuous improvement is what makes big companies rich.

Focus on team work

mckinsey process improvement

A process improvement initiative that is not aligned with company goals will fail to achieve its goal. If your colleagues do not agree with the changes you propose, then no one will use them!

If you are always asking people for their input and feedback, then no one will feel comfortable giving it. No one will feel motivated to contribute or help you make changes because there’s nothing new being implemented.

As mentioned before, improving processes requires breaking down barriers and changing how things are done. This doesn’t happen easily so don’t expect everyone to be supportive at first.

It takes time to develop trust and relationships so don’t get frustrated if someone does not seem to like you immediately. Consistency is more important than instant friendliness.

When implementing change, remember that you are trying to improve an already-existing system of practices and procedures. Therefore, even if someone does not fully understand why something was chosen over another option, they may just accept it and move on.

Measure your processes

mckinsey process improvement

The first step in process improvement is to measure your current processes, and see where you can make changes. This should include looking at how long it takes to complete tasks, what types of resources are needed for each task, and whether there are any steps in the process that can be eliminated or streamlined.

You may also want to evaluate the effectiveness of these procedures – is their efficiency outweighing their quality? For example, does having more people involved mean that something gets overlooked? Or do they help reduce time spent on an assignment because someone else was already doing some work on it?

By using statistical tools such as Time Management Tools, you can get a better understanding of how efficiently your organization moves forward and what areas could use some improving.

These tools allow you to track and analyze everything from phone calls to email messages to document revisions to what area of the company individuals belong to.

Use data to make decisions

mckinsey process improvement

We look at lots of different types of information, both internal and external, in our work. One of the most important things that we invest time in is process improvement.

Processes are how you get something done through teamwork, meetings, discussions, and more. For example, your colleagues might agree that it is best to have an initial meeting with one person serving as the leader before everyone gets involved, then having each individual talk about their part of the project, and finally having all individuals meet and discuss everything together. This way, no one feels left out or overlooked!

By investing time into understanding how processes work and how to improve them, you can help increase productivity, efficiency, quality, and morale. It also helps bring people together and encourages team building.

Data plays an integral role in improving business processes. By gathering and analyzing data, you can create insights that lead to better decision-making and action planning.

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