What is process improvement

Business Process Improvement (BPI) is a singular initiative or project to improve the alignment and performance of a particular process with the organizational strategy and customer expectations. BPI includes the selection, analysis, design, and implementation of the (improved) process.

The Importance of Efficient Processes

The various kinds of processes have one thing in common: they’re all designed to streamline the way that you and your team work. When everyone follows a well-tested set of steps, there are fewer errors and delays, there is less duplicated effort, and staff and customer satisfaction is higher.

Processes that don’t work can lead to numerous problems. For example:

  1. Customers may complain about poor product quality or bad service.
  2. Customers complain about long wait time
  3. Colleagues get frustrated.
  4. Work may be duplicated, or not done.
  5. Costs increase.
  6. Resources are wasted.
  7. Bottlenecks can develop, causing deadlines to be missed

 As businesses accelerate growth, there’s always a desire to manage quality, reduce costs and efficiency through process improvement.

Traditional Business Process Improvement Disciplines

Business Improvement stems from various disciplines that have been developed over time. Methodologies like Lean and Six Sigma are various disciplines that can stand alone but over time, there has been additional modifications to include sectors beyond manufacturing.

While Business process improvement is often associated with Lean and Six Sigma, Astreem also leverages value stream mapping, as our underlying business process improvement methodology.

Foundation of Process improvement Methodologies:

LEAN manufacturing, was a process that originated by Toyota Production System, today known as the TPS. It was implemented to streamline the company’s production chain and dramatically reduce operating and overhead costs. Lean thinking frames TPS around five key principles – Value, the value stream, flow, pull and perfection

The key idea is to base process improvement on the customer perspective; taking the time to understand what they value from the product and then using LEAN process improvement to eliminate unnecessary waste, errors and other things that drive up costs. By focusing on value, the entire process is organized to drive more of what the customer is willing to pay for.

Six Sigma is a process improvement example that focuses on achieving the maximum level of obtainable quality within an organization. At the Six Sigma level, that is a rating of near 100% perfection (or 99.9966%).

The Six Sigma approach looks closely at the root cause of problems, defects, and variations that reduce the effectiveness of processes. At its heart, there’s a philosophy of constant improvement that is in place to consistently and progressively improve results until that max level of perfection is achieved

However, today’s concept of Process Improvement, is a series of continuous actions that positively impact the bottom line and require further investments in time and resources to make operations more effective.

Astreem’s View on Process Improvement

Astreem Consulting takes a practical view of continuous improvement, leveraging the Plan-Do-Study-Adjust method to solve performance issues, capitalize on market opportunities, plan new products and improve the delivery of existing ones.

As an expanded view from Lean and Six sigma, Astreem uses Value Stream Mapping to offer more holistic views of how work flows through entire systems and provides effective means to establish strategic direction for making improvements. Value stream mapping allows for various perspectives ranging from the macro perspective to finer layers of granularity.  Stream Mapping also allows for a deeper understanding about the work systems that deliver value and support the delivery of value to customers. Finally, value stream maps reflect workflow from a customer experience perspective verses the internal focus of typical process level maps. This allows different departments to move from a silo mentality to a more holistic and cross functional view point, making customers the key stakeholder  the process.

Contact our Business Process Transformation experts if you are seeking to increase your efficiency, reduce redundancy and increase profitability.