Business Process Improvement

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  • When we take a problem-solving approach or simply try to fix what’s broken, we may never discover or understand the root cause of the difficulty. Murphy’s Law comes into play and our efforts to “fix” things may actually make things worse. A team examines all of the factors affecting the process: the materials used in the process, the methods and machines used to transform the materials into a product or service, and the people who perform the work


  • 2. Process Improvement
    • Focus on making things better
    • Disregard the usual practice of blaming people for problems or failures
    • Instead, seek what causes things to happen - examine all factors like the materials used in the process, the methods and machines used to transform the materials into a product or service, etc.
    • Use results to reduce variation, to eliminate activities that contribute no value and improve customer satisfaction
  • 3. Why improve a business process?
    • To serve customers better
    • To improve ability to anticipate, manage and respond to changes in the marketplace
    • To maximize business opportunities
    • To reduce inefficiencies and errors
    • Specific reasons – cumbersome processes, to be more competitive, to adopt best practices in the workplace, to reduce process cost, etc.
  • 4. Benefits of BPI
    • It allows us to look at how we perform our work
    • When all of the major players are involved in process improvement, they can collectively focus on eliminating waste so jobs can be done cheaper, quicker, easier, and most importantly safer
    • Using total quality tools and methods reinforces teamwork
    • Using team members’ collective knowledge, experiences, and efforts is a powerful approach to improving processes
  • 5. How to start with process improvement?
    • Senior leader needs to make it a command priority
    • The importance of process improvement must be communicated from the top
    • Leaders need to foster an organizational environment in which a process improvement mentality can flourish and employees are using quality-related tools and techniques on a regular basis
  • 6. Answer these Questions first…
    • What process should we select for improvement?
    • What resources are required for the improvement effort?
    • Who are the right people to improve the selected process?
    • What’s the best way to learn about the process?
    • How do we go about improving the process?
    • How can we institutionalize the improved process?
  • 7. Flow Chart Symbols Source:
  • 8. Flow Chart Symbols
  • 9. Challenges…
    • Difficulty to get true buy-in from the lower levels
    • Process changes often suffer from unrealistic scope and expectations
    • Presence of subjectivity that exists when analyzing and comparing processes
    • May face resistance to change
  • 10. BPI Techniques & Methodologies
    • Lean Six Sigma
    • Value Stream Mapping
    • Process Mapping
    • 5S
    • Six Sigma
    • Kaizen
    • DMAIC
  • 11. Things to Remember
    • Process improvement will only last if there is full commitment to the project from the top down
    • Any project must align itself to the company strategy and have clear goals and objectives.
    • Process Improvement project must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time-bound
    • The whole process must be looked at
    • Look at processes in terms of how your customers see you
    • Continuous improvement is an on-going adventure