Process improvement, also called as Business Process Improvement (BPI), Continual Improvement Process (CIP), Business Process Improvement (BPI), Business Process Re- engineering, is a business practice to identify, analyses and improving the existing business processes to optimize performance, to improve quality and to improve the user experience for customers. The basic aims of business process improvement are to reduce waste, improve productivity, improve quality and enhance efficiency of the organization.
Various Techniques of Process Improvement
There are various methodologies which can help your organization to improve the processes. Some processes focus on cutting wasteful activities and some help improving the overall working culture of the organization. Some of such methods are discusses below:
Six sigma is a process improvement technique that ranks the workers as classified in the karate belt. The beginner starts with the green belt and goes up to black belt. There are two ways to improve processes as per Six Sigma. One is, define, measure, analyze, improve and control (DMAIC) and other is define, measure, analyze, design and verify (DMADV).
Kaizen is an approach for continuous improvement the focuses on small, ongoing positive changes which can lead to significant improvements. There are five elements of Kaizen, i.e., teamwork, personal discipline, improved morale, quality circles and suggestions for improvement. By improving standardize processes, Kaizen aims to eliminate waste.
PDAC stands for plan, do, check and act. The first thing organizations has to do is to plan. Plan means identification of a problem and planning to solve it. The second thing is to implement the solution, i.e. taking necessary steps to solve the problem. The third step is to evaluate the data for effectiveness and documentation of final results. The final step is to act as per the planning it is successful.
5S is a part of Kaizen and lean methodologies and it has five main steps. Sort, straighten, shine, standardize and sustain. The 5s model helps bringing consistency and standardization to the process improvement.
Value Stream Mapping
Value stream mapping is a process of identifying the processes of the organization, which add value to the organization. It focuses on elimination of waste and unnecessary processes which consume resources but do not contribute anything to the growth of the organization. This technique helps making an organization lean.
Cause and Effect Analysis
Another tool for process improvement is cause and effect analysis. This technique focuses on identification of the problem first and then preparing a diagrammatic representation of root causes of the problem. Once you know the root cause of the problem, it is always easy to solve the problem.
Total Quality Management (TQM)
Total Quality Management (TQM) is a management approach, which seeks participation of all the team members of the organization towards achieving long term quality objectives. We can define ‘Total Quality Management (TQM)’, as a customer oriented process aimed for continuous improvement of business operations. This process ensures participation of every employee of the organization toward achieving the common goal of improving the quality of product or service. It is an excellent tool to improve processes of the organization.
Kanban is a tool for process workflow visualization that that gets business units, employees and top management on the same page for process improvement.
Process mapping is also called a process flowchart, process chart, functional flowchart and process model. It is basically a process of creating a flow diagram that depicts vital information of a process from start to finish. By visualizing a process from start to finish, one can easily find bottlenecks and areas of improvement for a process. The decision is then taken by the organization to improve the process accordingly.
Adopting various process improvement techniques is crucial for overall improvement of the organization. The management should try to equip their organization and employees with such techniques and skills to enable them contributing to the overall growth of the company.