Organizations are constantly faced with the need to rethink, redesign, restructure, or reduce costs to remain competitive. However, many organizations find it challenging to tackle business process improvement.
It is often a domino effect; changing business practices in one area may affect numerous other processes across the organization. Add in all of the stakeholders who are affected – employees, customers, suppliers – and process improvement projects are often complex. To thrive in this environment, organizations must continuously improve their business processes and be nimble about making necessary adjustments.
The following are critical strategies that organizations should utilize to improve their business process management:
- Planning and preparation; Take the time to design a process uniquely suited to your organization and develop a clear plan for carrying it out. From the start, identify your key stakeholders and determine how they can be involved in the process.
- Engagement and communication; With any process improvement initiative, it is critical to build trust and communicate regularly with all affected stakeholders. People need to know what’s going on and what’s coming next. First, foster and implement effective communication plans for this purpose. Then develop strategies to get people involved and excited about the process in order to build strong champions for change.
- Transparent process; In approaching process improvement, transparency is important. Assure that communication strategies are in place so that your employees, customers, and other stakeholders know what to expect, how decisions will be made, and what the key timeframes are. When people feel like they are in the loop, they are more likely to get involved and support the process. For example, a branch manager in one large organization worked with her team to redesign their business practices to become more efficient, reduce costs, and better serve their customers. What she didn’t take into consideration was the fact that many of her branch customers also frequented other branches of her company. What was intended to improve customer service actually ended up frustrating a large group of customers who felt they received different levels of service at different branches.
With our help, the organization quickly regrouped and a new process improvement initiative was launched to include all branches. This more comprehensive approach led to even better ideas that were replicated across the whole organization. The result was a huge leap in service levels and significant cost savings through more efficient processes.
LRI designs and facilitates planning processes to help organizations improve their business effectiveness and efficiency: http://soundhouseapps.com/projects/LRI/consulting/processimprovement/