Lean Business Process
Increasing efficiency to maximise productivity
Companywide Strategic Improvement
1. Analyse current procedures and processes as documented by management.
2. Observe how the procedures and processes are actually implemented.
3. Interview various members of staff to pinpoint any bottlenecks and inefficiencies.
4. Document in storyboard form and through a report to management.
5. Based on report and level of inefficiencies create a strategic action plan to set about making changes0.
6. Initiate Strategic Improvement Programmes in all areas affected, involving all necessary staff.
7. Monitor and guide staff through the plan implementing process changes as necessary, starting big too small.
8. Change management.
9. Consistent reinforcement of new way of thinking, keeping the staff and motivated to change is what see’s the results stick long-term.
The company in question, a SME based in Ireland and the UK had just over 110 directly employed staff. This project was rolled out to the Dublin office containing 68 staff, a mix of office, technical and sales personnel. The company was service orientated, designing, installing and then offering maintenance services for the lifespan of the equipment. An industry leader in their area and operating for more than 30 years with a high volume of the staff having been with the company for 10 years +.
Due to the economic downturn they were forced to cut staff and reduce prices, it became an exercise in survival. Once Ireland started to grow the company were not running in a lean or efficient manner and needed to dramatically update their day to day running to compete in the expanding marketplace.
The first step was to analyse all current processes and merge
this with what the employees were actually doing. Several
inadequacies were found that could be solved to dramatically
reduce the workload on certain staff. Through creative flowcharts
and workload management techniques we were able to work on
a solution to evenly spread tasks among key staff.
After productive discussions with staff two vital areas of
the business were identified as problem areas, quality of
information coming into the building and poor management
of inventory and resources. Steps to rectify this were
designed and documented to company management.
Once all inefficiencies were identified and the process flowchart had been completed we could begin work on streamlining with the following end goals:
• Decreasing the amount of admin involved in each project
• Improving on information quality coming in
• Speeding up the enquiry to quote process
• Improving the Resource and Inventory Management Processes.
• Offering a work environment where stress is limited and all staff can function at a high level for the company.
Launching the company wide programme to improve company performance is the most important part of any improvement process. Identifying internal champions and P.M’s that get behind these changes are what see them succeed or fail. Making changes to a process without the backing of the staff are very likely to fail, empowering staff to implement the new ideas and managing the change process can see lasting effects.
Strategic Improvement Processes can be launched in a short time frame but for the new habits to set in a certain amount of time needs to pass with the project champions firmly behind the new ideas. Frequent reporting on progress and improvements offers a simple insight for staff to see that what has improved over the previous months. The progress reports need to be visibly displayed to all staff.
Implementing Strategic Change or becoming ‘lean’, is a huge endeavor for any company regardless of size. It requires constant management and quarterly reviews to ensure any changes that are made are followed. If implemented correctly the benefits can be seen far past the monetary gain. Increased employee satisfaction and retention rates, engagement, atmosphere and the ability to attract a higher level of staff because of the reasons mentioned are all outcomes of a successful change initiative.
Strategic Improvement Process General Timelines.
Phase 1 – Identifying issues – 30 – 45 days
Phase 2 – Documenting inefficiencies – 5 days
Phase 3 – Strategic Change – 60 – 90 days
Phase 4 – Change Management – continuous from beginning of phase 3
Phase 5 – Management reviews to continue building on the work done - Quarterly
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