Process improvement skills refer to the ability to adopt a systematic approach in order to identify, analyze, and bring about improvement in the existing business processes for the purpose of optimization and meeting new quotas or quality standards.
Ideal process improvement skills require acknowledging the improvement efforts as ongoing instead of a one-time task as well as being able to follow up with the analysis of all areas of improvement. Such improvements can be made by modifying, complementing with another sub-process, or completely eliminating an existing process.
When process improvement skills are effectively utilized within an organization, it results in better product/service quality, customer satisfaction and loyalty, enhanced productivity, and ultimately a faster as well as higher return on investment.
Why is process improvement important
As anyone would agree, strategies are critical to the success of any organization. However, strategies sound like nothing more than a wish if not executed effectively. So, what is it that makes the sound execution of strategies possible?
Pondering over the answer to this question alone is enough to enlighten you about the importance of efficient and effective business processes. The inability of any organization to involve itself in process improvement as an ongoing activity will result in wastage of time and money as well as deterioration of the product or service quality.
Weak business processes can cause the morale of even the most hard-working employees to decline if they start to feel that all their efforts are being overwhelmed by the flaws of a system so large that they have little or no individual control over it.
How to improve process improvement skills
If you are working hard and still unable to compete, if your best pricing model has not proved to be very profitable, or if you are working at maximum capacity and the CEO demands an even better performance, these are all signs that you need to work upon you process improvement skills. following are some helpful tips:
- Create cross-functional teams. Business processes, essentially, traverse all organizational as well as functional boundaries. Therefore, for the best possible analysis of the business process as well as suggestions for improvement, it is better to involve individuals from all functional areas that are required to complete the system. Their first-hand knowledge about the processes makes them the better judge of what changes are needed and hence, they are able to generate the best ideas.
- Consider it a requirement rather than an option. Anyone with even the slightest bit of understanding about the concept of business process improvement would know all the required steps to be undertaken i.e. mapping processes, analyzing processes, redesigning them, acquiring resources, implementing as well as communicating the change, and finally reviewing. However, there is a huge difference between knowing and actually performing. True process improvement skills involve not only knowing the necessary steps but also, implementing them dutifully.