How to Improve Your Business Processes with Process Improvement Tools and Techniques

Learn how to improve your business processes with process improvement tools & techniques such as Total Quality Management (TQM), Lean Manufacturing & Six Sigma.

How to Improve Your Business Processes with Process Improvement Tools and Techniques

Total quality management (TQM) is a customer-centered approach that involves continuous improvement over time. This technique is often used in supply chain management and customer satisfaction projects. It is also known as lean manufacturing, lean production, or just-in-time production. Womack, Daniel Jones and Daniel Roos, in the book The Machine That Changed the World, Lean highlight five fundamental principles based on the authors' experiences in manufacturing Toyota.

Six Sigma started at Motorola, became a fundamental part of General Electric's strategy, and has since been widely used in business and manufacturing processes. This method helps companies measure defects or inconsistencies in a process to offer perfect products and services. By using DMAIC and DMADV, Six Sigma organizations should gain clear financial benefits and strive to achieve less than 3.4 faulty functions for every million opportunities or chances of a defect occurring. Although often referred to as lean manufacturing, the fundamental ideas of Lean can be applied to all organizations and processes. Lean Six Sigma is a combination of the two previous methodologies.

Adopting an agile approach in Six Sigma helps you eliminate waste from your organization and reduce process defects. Lean Six Sigma helps you save time, improve quality and reduce costs. It is based on the DMAIC and combines the tools of both process improvement methodologies, such as value flow maps and SIPOC analysis diagrams. When it comes to improving existing processes, understanding how to map and analyze them is key. There are seven different business process improvement methodologies that your team can use to help reduce inefficiencies.

As a result, they will present minor, low-cost, low-risk improvements that will add up to a significant impact. An improvement framework is a methodology that helps you plan a process improvement method and track its value before expanding it. Your team may have implemented processes that worked when it was small, but as you grow, those processes may not scale in a way that makes your team as efficient as possible. Even if you have one type of process map, you can find another process mapping tool that is even more revealing for your particular process. This same concept can be applied to business because as long as you continuously improve, your business can be more successful. We've compiled a list of the most common and useful business process improvement tools and techniques that you can start implementing today.

Diagrams make it easy to visualize and understand the influence that a restriction has on other parts of the process and where the restriction can be alleviated. Value stream mapping is a system for visualizing the connection of each action or process required to produce a product with the value it ultimately provides to the customer. Once the changes are in place, the cycle begins again, seeking to bring the process ever closer to perfection. Many of the process improvement tools that we have already discussed are used as part of the DMAIC process. Understanding how to use these tools will help you determine how you can improve workflows.

The improved process becomes the new baseline for future operations, standard working documents are revised to include change, and managers can modify performance expectations.