Process Improvement - Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets

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Put simply, Process improvement (PI) involves the business practice of identifying, analysing, and improving existing business processes.

Process ImprovementThe most successful organisations apply constant and relentless effort to improve their processes and learn from their own people at the coalface and from external businesses via networking. To paraphrase Sir Isaac Newton, they ‘stand on the shoulders of Giants’.

Improvement comes from providing the customer with the best value by removing waste from the organisation. This includes minimising errors, reducing process waste, improving productivity, and streamlining efficiency.

Only by improving the inputs to a process can you influence the output or results. As W. Edwards Deming said: ‘Every system is perfectly designed to get the results it gets.’

Effective PI grows from personal improvement and builds personal engagement. To improve performance, you should empower those engaged in the activity to act and improve, and provide regular, constructive feedback.

Likewise, by seeing what other organisations do, and by sharing what you do well, you will clear the path for a successful PI journey.

Does it matter if the other businesses are in an unrelated field? The answer is a resolute no! It is good to be different!

A ‘cookie-cutter’ approach to PI might help with standardisation, but it can sometimes disengage employees and stifle innovation.

By networking with other organisations who are on the same PI journey, you can explore the best ways of winning over the ‘Hearts and Minds’ of employees by sharing ‘what works’ and ‘what does not’.

Improvement is most likely to happen in an environment designed to promote customer focus; with clearly defined goals; where people are held accountable; where results are measured; where regular feedback is sought and given; where recognition is genuine, and where victories, big and small, are celebrated.

Process Improvement grows from the fertile earth of engaged employees, diversified opinions and by looking beyond the borders of your own land.

One last quote from Deming: ‘The result of long-term relationships is better and better quality, and lower and lower costs.’

David Newland; Operations Manager QLD

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Related content: lean principles

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David Newland

Operations Manager QLD