Implementing process improvements can be a challenging task, particularly when it comes to making sure that changes are properly communicated and implemented across all departments and teams within an organization. A change management plan can help facilitate a smooth transition and guarantee that employees follow the process. Unfortunately, approximately 70 percent of change initiatives fail due to negative employee attitudes and unproductive management behavior. To increase the chances of success, companies should consider using the services of a professional change management consultant.
Nowadays, companies have access to a wide range of technical solutions capable of addressing virtually any need for process improvement. Business Process Reengineering (BPR) is one such solution. Rather than addressing a small component of an overall workflow, BPR attempts to address problems and eliminate unnecessary steps by comprehensively redesigning an entire process from start to finish. It is essential to have one person accountable for overseeing the entire process in order to ensure continuous action.
The first step is to gather information from stakeholders who will be actively involved in developing the plan. To improve interdisciplinary communications, it is important to develop a common language that is shared during the onboarding process. Tracking data points such as time, production and ROI will help determine if the improvements are effective. Monitoring should compare the results of the improved process with the objectives identified at the start of the project.
When a company is faced with operational challenges, customer complaints, or simply wants to optimize existing workflows, it's time to implement process improvements. Once tests have been completed and results demonstrate that the new procedure solves problems and generates significant and measurable improvement, the new process can be implemented throughout the organization. Six Sigma strategies are continuously applied to a process until variations are eradicated and the process produces consistent and predictable results. If this is an external process change, customers should be informed in advance to avoid confusion and a poor user experience when the change occurs.
This sample process map documents the workflow for obtaining necessary approvals in an organization. Encouraging feedback can help train team members, thus helping streamline and improve processes as well as collaboration between departments. To ensure that process improvements are properly communicated and implemented, it is important to have a clear plan in place. This plan should include gathering information from stakeholders, developing a common language for interdisciplinary communication, tracking data points, monitoring results, implementing changes throughout the organization, informing customers of external changes, and encouraging feedback from team members. By following these steps, companies can increase their chances of success when implementing process improvements.