Process Improvement Guide
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A process is something that happens for normal duration, repeated consistently. It is an action or series of actions performed by someone or something to fulfill a task or goal.
A business’s processes are how it functions. These processes are what people use to describe what your company does- how you organize your work and get things done. Having these understanding of processes is important as they can help shape the way others perceive your organization.
There are many types of processes, but some common ones include production, logistics, and maintenance. All three of those processes have to do with producing products or services and keeping up with all of the steps necessary to keep production moving forward.
Logistics involves getting resources from one place to another. This could be internal resources going somewhere else within the same area or external sources being used for transportation or equipment. Maintenance is also having to take care of the materials and tools needed to produce the product or service.
This article will talk about two different process improvement projects using examples and strategies based off of the above concepts. The first project focuses on improving productivity and the second project tackles efficiency.
Measure the process
The first step in improving any system is to measure it! Systems that perform well have clear metrics that show how they are performing. You can use these measurements to determine if your current system is working or not, and what you need to do to make changes so it does work better.
By defining these metrics, you will know exactly what parts of the system are functioning and what needs changing. For example, if your system has high production costs, then you should look into finding ways to reduce those costs. If people have to wait for too long to receive their rewards, then find ways to keep them motivated and productive while they work.
If you don’t take this initial step, then you won’t be able to tell whether your system is working or not! A good way to begin measuring your system’s performance is to see how close you are to achieving its goal.
System goals – what the system is supposed to achieve
There is an important difference between having a goal and knowing why you want to reach that goal. By thinking about the purpose of the system, you can also determine which other systems in your organization might help it succeed.
For example, let’s say your department’s main job is producing and selling products but every time a new product proposal is reviewed, it takes too long.
Review the process
A process is not something that you once have and then you do it until it works, like baking a cake. A process has components that keep happening over and over again, resulting in improved performance of the system being run.
Process improvement is an integral part of any successful business. Running a business includes running processes well, and there are many ways to do this. The best way for your company depends on what processes need improving, and how much money you want to invest in changing them.
Some companies may feel they have enough resources to stay within their budget and maintain the current process, but will suffer in efficiency due to changes needed. It’s important to evaluate your own internal processes and see if they can be improved.
You don’t have to make major changes, just look into little things that could use some tweaking or even looking at alternatives to find out why one thing is done a certain way. The more aware you are of the inner workings of your business, the better chance you have of finding efficiencies and improvements.
Improve the process
A process is something that happens every day, over and over again. For example, your job probably has a process for producing an article. You would go through a series of steps to produce it.
That process can be improved upon, however. How you organize those steps and how many steps there are can make a big difference in the quality of the article, as well as the time it takes to write it.
You can also add or take away steps from the process to create different versions of the article. There are even tools that will rewrite content for you!
We will discuss some ways to improve the process of writing by adding more detail into the article, changing the order of these details, and using special features such as bullets and/or quotes to emphasize parts of the article.
These changes can increase the readability of the article and give you space to think about what to include and what to leave out. They can also help you focus on writing only the needed number of words while still leaving room for improvement later.
Retrain team members
As mentioned earlier, improving your process comes down to changing how things are done. This can mean re-educating people in the organization about the processes that work well, giving them new responsibilities, or letting go of control of certain steps in processes.
Retraining individuals is one of the most important parts of process improvement. Not only does this take time, effort and money, but it can be very difficult if you do not know what their jobs entail and what tasks they perform daily.
By learning more about each other’s roles and functions, you will have a much better understanding of why someone makes the decisions they do. You may also find out something unexpected like someone else performs almost identical duties as them but gets paid twice as much!
This could help motivate them to keep up their hard work since they get paid less than their colleagues who are performing equally good functions.
Assign jobs to team members
A process improvement guide is always starting with an action, in this case assigning job responsibilities to individuals. This can be done by having each person choose their own task or have someone else pick it for them, either way works!
Once everyone has selected their assigned tasks, you can move onto the next step which is creating milestones. These are like checkpoints where people can see how much progress they’ve made towards completing their assignments.
It also gives them a target date when they should complete the work, as well as providing deadlines if there’s something important that needs to happen on a certain day.
By using milestones and due dates, your employees will know exactly what is expected of them and help keep them focused on doing their part of the project.
Make it clear who is responsible for what
As mentioned before, there are many ways to organize and manage your team’s tasks. What works best depends largely on how you structure your project teams and what kind of projects you want to run.
At its most basic level, task management can be done using an index card or paper notebook with markers and dividers. But this doesn’t help when everyone has their own way of organizing and taking notes on assignments.
Using an online tool like Google Spreadsheets makes this very common occurrence less frustrating!
By creating templates in Google Sheets that include columns for people’s names, job titles, and departments, as well as columns for due dates and stages of progress, you have made gathering assignment information easy and efficient.
This article will go into more detail about why such tools matter, along with some helpful tips to use them effectively.
Make it clear who is expected to do what
As mentioned earlier, not everyone in an organization is trained on the same process. Some people have training that covers more formal processes such as marketing or finance, while others are only trained on specific steps of an existing process.
In both cases, these individuals may be assigned different tasks without their knowledge. This can cause delays or even errors in process execution because they don’t know the next step forward.
Some examples include:
A sales person who has never been told he/she must send an introduction letter before sending a business proposal
Someone with technical skills who is asked to find someone else with those exact same technical skills
Or maybe you’ve seen things like this happen?
It happens at least once a week where someone in the company gets stuck performing a task that feels meaningless because they don’t understand the rest of the process that was skipped.
Make it clear what the consequences will be
The first step in any process improvement is making sure that everyone understands their part of the process. This means making sure that people understand what they are supposed to do, when they should do it, and how they are expected to perform their job.
It also means understanding why you are asking them to change something or other. They must believe that the changes make sense and will benefit them, the organization, and most important, the customers.
If someone feels like they are being asked to do things without help, motivation, or guidance, then your efforts will be wasted. You will have to start the process over again next month!
Process improvements can easily be done at any time, but there is a best time to implement new processes. During times with little to no demand for the service or product those improvements may not work as well.