Process Improvement Basics

January 9, 2023

A process is something that happens for repeated actions. For example, your phone has a process of charging it every time you turn it on.

A process can be done by someone else or yourself. It can be automated or not.

There are many types of processes we have in our lives- from going to work each day to spending hours at a job to eating food every morning. All these things occur because they are part of our daily routine.

We develop routines to make life easier. We have what we call “habits” which are repetitive behaviors that help us keep moving forward with our plans.

Businesses use this concept all the time. Find a product or service you like and go through the motions with it so that you use it regularly. Then, you increase its purchase because it comes more frequently!

By creating processes, you will find ways to improve the quality of your living. This article will talk about some basics of process improvement as well as examples.

Measure your process

process improvement basics

The first step in improving any process is to measure it! This can be done at both the individual level and the organizational level. At an individual level, you should know how efficient your own performance is so that you can improve it. For example, if you are spending too much time writing up notes after a meeting, then do not wait until you get home to make those notes. Make sure you do them as soon as possible!

At an organizational level, you need to know what processes exist and what effectiveness they have. What works for one organization may not work well for yours due to differences in people, mission, and size.

By measuring your process, you will also identify which parts of the process are taking longer than necessary. It might be something like having a conference call or group meeting every week, but only half of the participants showing up, so you are wasting valuable time waiting for others to join you.

It could be going through all of the steps of the process except one- finalizing what needs to be done before putting it into action- or even starting the actions themselves.

The important thing about process improvement is that there are always ways to optimize it.

Update your process

process improvement basics

A process is nothing more than a set of steps to be done in a certain order to achieve an objective. We use processes every day! For example, when you wake up in the morning, what do you do? You start your daily routine with a process called “wake up, shower, dress, eat breakfast, prepare for work”.

Your workplace has procedures and routines it follows to get things done. If these are not clear, people will not perform their jobs effectively or efficiently.

You as a leader must create clear processes that motivate others to contribute to the organization. This is important since employees can choose to go somewhere else at any time- they may feel overwhelmed by the number of tasks waiting for them.

Something like having too many projects going at once makes someone feel overloaded and stressed out. It creates a sense of chaos instead of efficiency.

Document your process

A key part of any process improvement is knowing what your processes are!
As we’ve discussed before, improving a business’s performance means changing something about how it operates. When those changes are made within an organization, people can feel that things are being “taken out of place” or “put in place not always wanted there.”

So, how do you make these changes without creating chaos?

It takes organizing and documenting your current practices to see where waste exists and opportunities for improvement arise.

Documenting your process doesn’t mean telling everyone else about all of the steps (that would be boring!), but rather capturing some important information related to your job.

Take a look at the following examples and see if you could apply what you learned to your own workplace.

Review your process

process improvement basics

A process is something that happens over and over, repeated consistently. Changing the process you use to do something changes how this thing is done.

A business process is part of an organization’s structure, system, or toolchain. It includes steps performed by people using resources (machines, equipment, etc.) in order to achieve an objective.

Business processes connect separate tasks into a flow that produces a result. When things go wrong, you can reroute the flow or change what product you are producing.

You can improve any process by adding efficiency tools and/or changing the materials used to produce the same results. This is called process optimization.

Process improvement doesn’t just apply to production departments either. The marketing team could be working on ways to promote your company through social media, for example. Or maybe introducing new products or services!

Any time there is a step in the work-flow that can be improved, it’s worth looking at. Even if nothing seems out of place, you never know when something might need tweaking.

Measure again

process improvement basics

The first step in any process improvement is to measure what you’re trying to improve. You have to know where you are already, before you can make changes to get better!

By this I mean gather data, test your assumptions, and evaluate how well your current practices work. This way, you will be more prepared when it comes time to make changes.

It also gives you an idea of just how good or bad your current processes are, so you can determine if they need improving or not.

You should always be looking for ways to improve your business, but here we go through some basics that every entrepreneur needs to understand.

Measure again

One important thing about process improvements is measuring success. How do you define ‘success�’?

Do you want to see bigger profits next year? Or would you rather see happier customers? A great way to assess both these things is via customer surveys.

Ask your customers why they bought from you and what their experience was like. Check out our guide here for tips on asking those questions.

Making changes

After you have measured your business and found areas for improvement, the next stage is making changes to achieve those improvements.

This could be changing marketing materials, finding new suppliers, introducing new products, etc.

Improve your process

process improvement basics

A better way to do something is by doing it twice, or more times. If you are having trouble deciding how to handle an element of your business, try duplicating the action several times. For example, if you cannot decide whether to go in door-to-door sales or online marketing, just do both!

By doing this, you will eventually reach a conclusion about which method is best for your business and what strategies work the most effectively for your company.

It’s like putting yourself through basic training so that you can achieve your goal with extra motivation and knowledge. By doing this, you will know what steps to take next.

Process improvement isn’t only important for entrepreneurs, but also for office managers and supervisors who want to improve workplace efficiency and productivity.

Repeat until success

process improvement basics

Another important thing to recognize as you strive to improve your performance as a leader is that it’s OK to fail. It’s even expected at times! A lot of famous leaders are remembered for failing time and again, but what happened after those failures? They picked themselves up, learned from their mistakes, and succeeded in another area.

Some might call this “overcoming adversity,” which is definitely an admirable quality in anyone. If you’re looking to advance your career, this should be a goal you have.

Failing as a leader isn’t about being perfect all the time. It’s not about having control over every situation, or requiring only positive feedback. Those things are great qualities, but they’re also very difficult to achieve. And sometimes, when people don’t get the results they want, there’s resentment instead of motivation.

Take action on what is important to you

process improvement basics

On the other hand, process improvement does not happen overnight. You have to be willing to put in some time upfront to see results. This can be difficult as people often want quick fixes or rewards now.

Businesses strive for an improved quality of service but sometimes things need to be worked on for longer before they are better. This includes improving your own personal efficiency and taking more time to focus on those things that matter most to you.

By investing in yourself and learning new skills, you will feel happier about the work you do and the person you become. These benefits also help you perform your job better which can improve the quality of services others receive from you.

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