Process improvement is necessary to stay ahead in business. Considering “Processes underpin business capabilities, and capabilities underpin strategy execution,” said Pearl Zhu in her book “Digital Capability: Building Lego Like Capability Into Business Competency.” As businesses adapt to new environment’s. Or just changing customer needs. Operations are most effected. Operations depend on strong processes. Therefore, to get ahead in business, you need good processes.

For a business, to grow and innovate, it must keep changing. Thinking up new ways to do business. It puts those ideas into a strategy.  Once it has a strategy, the business creates a plan to put it into action.

Process Improvement helps when implementing business plans

Processes are part of a companies culture. If you know how things work, it can create a sense of belonging. When businesses look to improve their processes employees can engage. This leads to business growth.

To grow you need a clear business plan. Creating a clear business plan is one of the biggest challenges facing CEOs today. Why?

Peter Bregman suggests “Execution Is a People Problem, Not a Strategy Problem,”. Successful business plans depends on teams, and teams need a common goal. A goal that the whole team can focus on. To achieve this, you must communicate the business plan and its strategy. As mentioned in our blog on business communication.  This will ensure the business develops the capabilities needed to execute the business plan. Capabilities support good processes. Processes that everyone who has helped improve will buy into and own.

Process improvement as a part of every work day

Companies often use consultants to analyse processes and develop improvements. It’s a quick way of getting results. The trouble is, when the process improvements are developed, it is up to employees to implement them.

Implementing a change is difficult for many reasons. There are often problems that need to be solved. However, people find it is easier to work through problems that they helped create. In other words, having a vested interest in a change can help its success.

Making processes central to a companies thoughts is a way of inspiring a culture of improvement. This is why, employees need to be involved in process improvement. They will seek out improvement everywhere and anywhere. This creates an environment, where processes and their results are tracked, reviewed and updated regularly.

Shooting for “Quick wins” and “low hanging fruit”

A good strategy is important when trying to grow a business. Having the capabilities to deliver on the strategy is also vital. Therefore, creating a culture of improvement helps capture and tune business processes.

A side effect of growth is new challenges. Working at scale brings problems that would not surface in lower volumes. In other words, processes that work for a small business will not always work for a large enterprise. Process improvement refines your processes as the business grows.

Here are four tips to help foster an improvement culture

  1. Education  When people learn that a 1% improvement in many areas can lead to a significant improvement across the business. They will soon realise that they could make a real difference. This will empower all employees to attempt to improve processes. Knowing even the smallest improvement could make a difference.
  2. Ownership – Ownership gives employees a sense of autonomy. In other words, Instead of needing constant hand-holding, employees focus on what the company needs rather the list of requests. That’s because they feel invested in the businesses success.
  3. Documentation & Reporting – Making documents and reports easy to access is important. It means people can track their own progress regularly. This helps employees adjust plans if things are not working as expected. Which mean they can celebrate success regularly.
  4. Encourage –  Encouraging employees to question what and how they do things. Improves their knowledge of the process. In addition, they may find gaps that other people have missed.

Let processes support innovation and growth

A process improvement culture has, teams that can participate in improvement. Employees that can contribute to new business solutions. For operational issues and even product design.

When everyone is involved, process improvement is not an afterthought. Which results in, process improvement becoming a strategy that supports the needs of the business. Process improvement helps innovation and growth. It is not thought of as a ball and chain. It becomes a powerful weapon.

We use process mining and kinetic ERP to improve business processes. Click here to see the business processes we are able to help you improve.