Process Improvement: Your Ultimate Guide

process improvement

Process improvement plays an integral role in achieving the most optimal business results. It allows you to create a simple, efficient, and productive system.

Inefficient processes can negatively impact your business’s profitability. This is why it is crucial that you need to identify which aspects of your operations cause bottlenecks, delays, and unnecessary expenditures.

Admittedly, the thought of overhauling your entire operations can be quite overwhelming. But don’t fret; we will walk you through enhancing your processes.

What Is Process Improvement?

As the name suggests, process improvement is a proactive task designed to identify areas in your business that could be enhanced. It is a systematic approach wherein various data are analyzed for a more concrete evaluation.

Key business metrics often used in the evaluation are customer satisfaction, sales quota, and employee performance based on their key performance indicators (KPI).

One of the tell-tale signs that you need to look into improving your business processes is when you notice a gradual decline in your overall productivity. If you encounter an increasing number of customer complaints and negative feedback, it’s also a good indication that something needs to change.

5 Types of Process Improvement

As previously mentioned, one of the main reasons why some businesses are apprehensive about process improvement is that it’s quite a daunting task. Luckily, there are a handful of methodologies that you can use to simplify this task.

Let’s take a look at the five most common types of process improvement.

1. Kaizen

This Japanese philosophy centers on the of continuous improvement. With this methodology, you do not need to make any big changes to your operations. As long as you make small shifts in the way you do things, it should produce significant improvements over time.

Kaizen is designed to eliminate three kinds of wastes:

  1. Muda, which refers to the practices that consume resources but do not necessarily add value to your organization.
  2. Mura, which is the overproduction of any type of item that results in massive waste.
  3. Muri, which means overburden or too much strain on your resources and manpower.

2. Kanban

If there’s one thing that the Japanese are really good at, it’s developing process improvement methodologies. Kanban literally translates to “visual cards.” This system basically revolves around using visual cues to trigger necessary action to ensure that the workflow keeps going. To put it simply, the Kanban system is a signal and response system.

A great example of this is in managing inventory. You may place a cue card to signal halfway through the pile to signal that it’s time to order the items. It may not look like it can make a significant difference in your operations, but it can vastly improve your workflow.

3. Lean manufacturing

This process improvement methodology, despite its name, isn’t only applicable to the manufacturing industry. Any business looking to reduce waste and boost efficiency can benefit from this system.

Also called Just-in-Time production, this process requires you to map out every aspect of your operations from the perspective of the buyer. This would allow you to see the areas that produce the most waste and cause backlogs.

4. Six Sigma

Six Sigma is one of the most widely used process improvement methodologies used by businesses of all sizes. It’s a data-centric approach to understanding and enhancing your workflow.

Within Six Sigma, process engineers use two techniques: DMAIC and DMADV. DMAIC stands for define, measure, analyze, improve, and control, while DMADV stands for define, measure, analyze, design, and verify.

5. Total Quality Management (TQM)

Just like lean manufacturing, this methodology is customer-focused, as its main goal is to improve customer satisfaction. It also data as benchmarks to make crucial business decisions. These data help identify the areas in your organization that need improvement or revamping.

TQM also fosters better employee engagement by providing your team members the platform to make suggestions.

How to Improve Your Business Processes

Aside from picking the right process improvement methodology, there are a few more things that you can do to reduce operational inefficiencies and bottlenecks:

Get employees involved

Process improvement is not limited to upper management. Get your employees involved throughout the entire process. Welcome any suggestions and feedback. Invest in skills training and program to make them better equipped to handle tasks.

Implement long-term strategies

Don’t expect changes right away. Process improvement can sometimes take a few months before you can experience any significant changes in your operations. It’s important to be patient.

Use technology to your advantage

Investing in the right set of tools and software can take your business to a whole new level. Keep an eye out for new technologies that can automate most of your manual tasks.

Jumpstart Your Process Improvement with Fill

Managing paperwork is inarguably one of the most tedious tasks that come with running a business. As your organization grows, so does the amount of documents you need to deal with. If you are not equipped with the right tools, it can easily get overwhelming.

One tool that can add a lot of value to your business and improve your processes is a document-signing application called Fill. With Fill, you can transform your document management system into one that’s completely digital.

You can do away with printing and mailing your documents. Not only that, but you can also send electronic signature requests in seconds. Not only does this speed up the signing process, but it also allows you to save money.

So what are you waiting for? Join Fill today and book a demo.

Andria Pacina

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