9 Fundamental Steps In Business Process Improvement

As a manager, have you taken a step back and looked at your business lately?

What do you see? How is the staff culture? What does productivity look like on a daily or monthly basis?

Could improvements be made? If so, this article can help give you some ideas on where to start.

In this article, we discuss nine steps for business process improvement.

1. Analyze

In order to improve upon a process, it is important to first analyze current practices in the business. 

One great way to do this is to interview employees in each sector to see their thoughts about some of the processes that are in place.  Gaining insight from the staff members that are hands-on can bring about valuable insight to potential avenues for improvement.

2. Identify Opportunities for Improvement

The next step in business process improvement is to identify the places that can be improved based on the analysis of your business. As mentioned above, employees, particularly specialists will be very helpful in facilitating options for improvement.

Analyzing all parts of the company, from finances to employee morale are crucial to bettering a company.

It is essential to understand the reasoning behind the improvement as well. This will ensure you are focusing on the most important parts of your business.

3. Create a Detailed Plan 

Once the business employees identify what needs improvement, the company has to create a plan to make it happen.

Make sure to have everyone be a part of this step to make sure they are bought into the changes. This is crucial for the business improvement plans to better the company as a whole.

Once the plan is made, it’s time to begin implementing! You will need to create a detailed list of each step and who is in charge of doing what. There should be deadlines and details about what each step entails.

4. Monitor the New Improvement Plan

Changes are more likely to be successful if there is monitoring and analysis of the new plan. To understand how it is working, the company needs to make sure to look at the results.

During this process, you should look at every step of the process to determine where the issue stems from and if the new plan is working.

While monitoring the new plan, the company can make determinations about the success of the changes and may need to make adjustments if and when other challenges and problems arise for the company.

5. Assess the Value

The overall intent of implementing business process improvement is to add value. Whether that is value for the company by increasing productivity, streamlining processes, or decreasing waste, there must be value.  This could also be value-added for the employees or customers/clients.

If the new plan is not providing sufficient value, reassessing and reworking may be necessary.

6. Understand and Assess the Risks of the Business Process Improvement Plan

Oftentimes in business implementing significant changes is a risk. However, maintaining the status quo is a risk of opportunity loss and falling behind in competitiveness. 

In some cases, it means more capital may be spent upfront with the intent of achieving a better outcome.  The business may need to hire more staff or expand operations, which also is an investment in capital that will take time to achieve a return on investment.

Regardless of the scenario, it’s important to assess the risks associated with implementing the new plan and determine how to make adjustments and plan to mitigate risk.

7. Create a New Standard and Document Everything

Once new standards have been established it is important for new processes and procedures documented in a standardized format that provides sufficient details to the new processes.  Ideally, documentation will facilitate onboarding new hires in a manner that provides sufficient information for them to acquire the knowledge and skills to perform the functions of their jobs. 

In this instance, it is easy to see how business process improvement can cause a ripple effect in an organization that illuminates how this process can overlap with change management and other aspects of the organization that may need improvement, such as updating learning and development programs to facilitate training employees. 

8. Create More Buy-in

Implementation is less likely to be successful without having the company employees and stakeholders on board. As part of the implementation of the business process improvement plan, make sure to monitor how the company employees are handing a new system or new plan.

This may require holding meetings or other communications to inform about the changes and explain the importance such that it is understood. 

9. Look for Other Avenues to Repeat the Process

As a business starts to grow and evolve, it’s important to continue to find other processes within that need improvement by continually assessing, in addition to monitoring the processes that have been reworked. 

Follow These Steps for a Successful Business Process Improvement Strategy 

Some organizations are slow to move and change and have established processes in place while others grow accelerate and skyrocket into growth while scrambling to figure things out on the fly.  With organization directives, deadlines, and competing timelines it can be challenging to take individuals or management away from their obligations and dedicate time and resources to these tasks. 

It can be extremely helpful to have a business process improvement consultant provide their expertise and guide your organization through this process. Contact Zolicity our goal is to help organizations thrive!

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