Process Improvement

Whether seeking to improve quality, reduce cycle times or lower costs, leading companies are improving business processes today to find competitive advantage.

Business process transformation and business process redesign or re-engineering describe a technique that, by helping to analyse and understand the work flows within the organisation, provides opportunities to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and adaptability of the processes.

Most processes are full of duplications and bottlenecks where they cross between departments and that means inefficiencies, delays, mistakes and other failures which can cost time, money and customers. Improving process performance is key to virtually any performance improvement project, whether the intent is to:

  • Improve competitiveness
  • Improve customer relationships
  • Improve responsiveness to customers through lowered cycle times
  • Improve quality
  • Improve productivity
  • Lower costs
  • Implement new technologies, or
  • Improve employee skills, satisfaction and staff retention.

Most process improvements in the past have concentrated on the traditional departmental structure - looking for improvements within each department, but not considering the cross-departmental nature of the processes. Process Improvement principles suggest that internal improvements should:

  • Organize around outcomes, not tasks
  • Modernise processes before automating
  • Use benchmarking and other techniques to regularly assess the costs and benefits of functional processes
  • Establish process ownership (responsibility, accountability, and authority)
  • Subsume information-processing work into the real work that produces the information
  • Put decision points where work is performed, and build control into the process
  • Standardize similar processes
  • Focus on customers
  • Capture information once, and at the source
  • CHANGE NOW, do not wait for a "perfect" solution
  • Build new systems only as a "last resort"

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