All organisations are constantly on the lookout for ways to reduce costs and increase revenue. Some have issues with customer satisfaction or service quality. One way to achieve performance gains in these areas is to review and improve your business processes.
We have extensive experience helping customers improve their businesses in a wide variety of sectors and functional areas. This includes the design of shared service centres and contact centres, projects to increase workshop throughput, improving sales process and so on.
And we can work through from design to final delivery because we understand the practice and the theory.
SO WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO LOOK AT YOUR PROCESSES?
The short answer is to make sure your service delivers what the customer wants at the minimum cost achievable.
When setting up a new operation, it is important to invest time to design and document the processes properly so that they will meet your customer requirement. Once agreed, you have the foundation for the job specifications, organisational structure, facilities, computer systems and so on.
In our experience, processes ‘age’ very quickly and so they can drift away from delivering the value for which they were designed. It is, therefore, important to keep them under review as customer requirements change. If you can do this, you will minimise duplication, errors and waste.
SO HOW WOULD YOU DO IT?
We work with customers on a wide range of projects and we tailor our approach to the size of the project. Our approach is logical, methodical and common sense based and contains the following components:
- Understand the organisation and context
- Agree objectives for the project (e.g. increased throughput)
- Agree size and content of the process team (who will own the improvements)
- Establish measurements (if not already in place)
- Create a view of the ‘as is’ position
- Critique, identify solutions and trial changes
- Create a documented ‘to be’ process and agree with the stakeholders
- Prioritise improvements (taking into account size of benefit, cost, etc)
- Develop action plans and implement
- Establish process compliance auditing / measurements for ongoing control
We are often asked about techniques, case tools, etc. Generally, we use straight forward techniques during the analysis steps because we have found that in most projects, the ‘pareto law’ applies. However, we are well versed in the concepts and tools of ‘Lean’ and ‘Six Sigma’ too.
And if you are wondering how computer systems fit in, our maxim is to design / review the processes first and apply appropriate technology second. Systems (and their associated cost) are sometimes the answer but not in every case.