Improving company processes is about more than the pursuit of efficiency and effectiveness.
The goal is to help the company to meet its strategic goals by adding value in every activity of the production process to provide the best customer experience.
Our ideas to improve company processes are based on 4 tools used to discover which activities need to be modified and redesigned.
3 Ideas for process improvement
There are some important points that should be considered when conducting a project improvement strategy. They are:
- Bottlenecks that taper and cause delay in operation
- Points of contact with customers
- Risky activities that can paralyze operations
- Activities which add the most value (improve them as much as possible)
- Activities which do not add value (automate them or delete them).
But it’s not easy to see these often subtle issues. To study these aspects in a structured way, various tools to improve company processes have been created.
Here are our ideas to Improve Company Processes involving the use of these tools.
Process improvement idea #1: GUT Matrix
Each of these letters has a meaning:
- Gravity: What will be the loss if a step isn’t taken?
- Urgency: The time you have before it’s necessary to take action to prevent loss?
- Trend: What’s the extent of the problem?
After listing potential bottlenecks, risk activities, activities that do not add value and points of contact with the customer, you must assign grades one through five for each of the GUT matrix variables, using the following criteria:
|5||Extremely serious||Immediate||Worsening now|
|4||Very serious||Some urgency||Will worsen in the short term|
|3||Serious||ASAP||Will worsen in the medium-term|
|2||Slightly serious||Wait only a short time||Will worsen in the long run|
|1||Not serious||No rush||Won’t get worse|
After giving grades for each activity, multiply the values. With the result, make a list in descending order to find out what activities should be improved with more urgency. The higher the final score; the sooner the improvements should be provided for that activity.But how do you get ideas and solutions to apply these improvements? For this, you can use a
But how do you get ideas and solutions to apply these improvements? For this, you can use a brainstorming tool.
Process improvement idea #2: Brainstorming
This is one of the ideas to Improve Company Processes that is used because of its power to unite the team in searching for results.
There are several variations to this group idea generation model, some are even accentuated in written texts.
But what brings more results is the interruption model, as it gives time for the participants to assimilate the ideas in their minds, develop them unconsciously and resume them more assertive the next day. See the steps.
- Meeting between 2 and 8 people.
- Delegate someone to write down the proposed ideas.
- Everyone speaks and expresses their ideas.
- Do not criticize the ideas of others, just complement them (the goal is not to inhibit the flow of ideas).
- After 2 to 4 hours the meeting is stopped (interrupted), the participants can mull over the ideas and suggestions in their heads during the interval.
- The next day the meeting is resumed, with participants reading a list of ideas and selecting the best 4 or 5.
- Now participants can criticize, change and give suggestions to format ideas.
- At the end of 2 to 4 hours, 4 or 5 company process improvement ideas should be ready.
Process improvement idea 3#: the Cause and Effect Diagram
Also called by some the Ishikawa diagram, named after its creator, it is a very effective way to relate several causes to a problem that needs to be resolved.
Draw a horizontal line, then draw 3 or 4 more on each side of it, starting from the straight plane and following in the opposite direction, angled to the left. The drawing should be similar to a fish skeleton (herringbone), another name given to the diagram.
At the far right of the diagram, write the problem to be analyzed.
This process must take place in a group, defining a first probable cause of the problem addressed, then write it on the nearest diagonal line. Then everyone should ask: What causes this?
And, after reaching a conclusion to that question, write it on the following secondary cause line. Then continue to ask, at least 6 times: What causes this?
After following this pattern it is possible to reach the root cause of the entire chain of activities that generated the problem. After some revision, the group should define the working causes and how improvements should be developed in the process to avoid them.
Some argue that questions should always be made considering the following categories of cases: method, manpower, raw materials, machines, measurement, and the environment. Although questioning these categories may help the discovery of the causes, sometimes, this approach is not mandatory.
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