Improving and streamlining processes within an organization can eliminate waste, reduce costs and enable better customer service. The savings and potential improvements are there. They only need to be identified so action can be taken. This is not only an opportunity but can be considered a responsibility. Follow the steps below and realize the benefits of process improvement.
Start with your core processes
The obvious place to start is with the core processes of the business. These are the processes that take place on an ongoing basis and support the core operations of the business. For example, processing a repair order from quote to appointment to vehicle drop off and on to delivery and payment is the primary process within a tire or auto repair operation. Procuring tires and parts is a core process that supports the repair fulfillment process. Focusing on the core processes of the business will have the most significant and immediate impact.
Write it, see it, improve it, measure it
Write it, see it, improve it, measure it. These are the steps to follow in improving business processes. List the steps that are taken from the beginning to the end of the process. Then list how each step is performed. Step back and see it. Is there anything missing? Look for areas where duplication of effort takes place. The most obvious example of this occurs when something is first hand written then keyed into the computer later. Look for ways to eliminate the handwriting and put the information directly into the computer. Look for unneeded steps. Often there are steps included in a process that were put in place based on requirements that no longer exist. Ask your self – does the step add value or is it wasteful? Determine how much the waste is costing you.
Plan your changes … implement your plan
Once the areas that can be improved are identified outline a plan on how to implement the improvements. Gradual change is better than revolution. Also, it’s harder to measure results when too many changes are made at once.
Measure the effects of the changes
Finally, measure the results. Validate that your objectives were achieved. Reducing the cost of processes is a very effective way to improve profitability and become more competitive.