Skip to main content

How hard do you push your business processes?

Out of ten, how hard do you currently push your business processes? Are they well developed and delivering the results you need, or are they just a feature of your business?

Develop your business processes with
this step-by-step guide. Available from
Amazon and iTunes.
I thought I’d ask you this question to challenge you, to see if you are getting the most out of your processes. Properly developed processes can make the difference between poor performance and amazing performance. My clients have seen 500% increases in productivity, 80% reductions in lead times and tripling of sales with no extra employees through maximising the management of their business processes. It really is worth investing some of your time and effort to look into this topic.

So, let me help you out with the scoring for this by sharing with you some of the things I look for. This is part of the ‘what does good look like?’ question that can really help you and your management team to focus on driving the right change through your business.

Good to me includes:

Having clearly defined processes, with clear ownership of the various steps in each of the processes.

Metrics / KPIs that help you manage the inputs, the outputs and the process steps themselves in the most efficient and effective manner.

Feedback loops that help the processes to improve.

Engagement with both the people directly and indirectly involved with the processes to continuously look for better and more efficient ways to operate each process.

Routines that support the triggering and operating of the process’ steps.

Mechanisms to regulate the workloads and flow of activity through the processes.

Slick handovers during the individual processes that ensure delays and poor decision making is minimised.

Forums / meetings to ensure that all team members can declare their obstacles and get the support they need, in order to fulfil their roles and execute the process steps they are responsible for.

Clarity about the standards that the individuals are expected to work to and a ‘reasonable expectation’ of the outputs / results they are expected to achieve.

Well documented instructions (aka Standard Operating Procedures) for each step of the process.

Mature reporting activities, to ensure that the main steps in each process are delivering their results, the individuals are being supported and achieving their stated performance levels and that the strategic objectives of the business are on their way to being satisfied as a result of the processes being executed properly.

Are you a ten out of ten, or are you somewhere in-between?

I am sharing this list with you so that you can use it during a time out with your team, something to reflect upon and something that could help you plan the next steps in your continuous improvement efforts.

I hope that you find it to be useful,

Giles



About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes. Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.

Subscribe to my email updates and receive my on time delivery and productivity improvement guide:



Popular posts from this blog

Where there is a (performance) gap there is a concern

I had a really good day yesterday working with a client's team.

The team has issues. Plenty of issues. Some are managerial issues, some are people issues and some are production issues.

When I first met the team they didn't know what to do with their issues, so I started by helping them to see more issues.

Issues everywhere, they didn't seem very impressed.

And then we captured the issues as 'concerns' into the tried and tested 'concern cause countermeasure' format and followed the process:

Concerns probed for root causes and root causes converted into countermeasures.
Soon they realised that some of their root causes dealt with numerous concerns and they gained momentum.

Yesterday we pulled another one of their processes apart and identified all of the gaps. The gaps became concerns and we fed them back into the process. Now they have a practical action plan (of countermeasures) to upgrade the process in question.

What do you do with your performance gaps? …

Continuous Improvement and the Five Legged Race

Many improvement projects need the buy in of several people before they can progress. Amongst these people there will be some that have a firm view of what needs to happen and are keen to make progress. Some of the people won't be sure and they will need more time. Other people might not be that interested and have other priorities they want to focus on.

None of this is wrong.

It is an observation of mine and one that I see repeat on a regular basis with the businesses that I come into contact with.

But, if we take the principle from the observation we have an interesting improvement strategy (one that I personally use when I get stuck with my client's improvement projects).

You might have worked out the approach from the title of this blog post, but it is analogous to a three-legged race (or four, five, nine...). If someone in the group moves in the wrong direction and / or at the wrong speed then the whole group falls over.


In the example I gave at the start it is no differe…

Do you have time to prepare (in order to become super productive)?

I had a funny conversation a few weeks ago with a team that was complaining about one of their colleagues spending 'ages' preparing their workstation within their factory. I meet a lot of people that spend too long preparing (and effectively procrastinating) so I was intrigued by their comment. It turns out that this individual didn't spend too long but rather his colleagues dived into their work without thinking through what the best way to work was...

The slower to start gentleman did in fact prepare his work area. He was also able to produce a far greater amount of work in the same time period because he had invested in a smarter way of working than his counterparts. The time spent preparing his working area was valuable and not overdone.

This example reminds us of the importance of the second S in 5S (set in order) and how workstation design is critical if we want to maximise the productivity of our teams. Whether this is a physical work area in a factory, the filing s…