Process improvement is continuous work. Plain and simple. The reason is twofold: There is always something to improve, and the environment we work within is constantly changing. As a Process Optimisation Manager, you’re aware of it. But your boss, the C-level, and the entire team of co-workers of a factory need a constant reminder to keep the optimisation work going. This is your main responsibility.
You need a strategy for how to address this topic successfully. Your goal is to create awareness of the need for continuous improvement and establish a culture of efficiency. So how to get there? First, you have to lead by example:
- Show how things are done and how you approach the task.
- Conduct a process review.
- Illustrate the (beneficial) outcomes.
But you can’t optimise all processes alone; you’ll need a team of efficiency-driven internal “ambassadors” who will spread the word, teach the methods, conduct workshops and execute – step-by-step – your strategy towards a culture of efficiency. Your network of process engineers is your voice and tool. That’s why you have to focus on them: be a mentor and enabler.
One of the practical things to provide your inner circle is to show them how to tackle optimisation: the process improvement plan. A process improvement plan is an agenda defining how to improve your processes after analysing and identifying them to help you get better at what you do. Remember: The goal is to eliminate bottlenecks in business operations. By identifying these weak points, efficiency will increase:
- Reduced process completion time
- Improved process quality
- Eliminated wasted efforts
- Minimised friction in business processes
- Met regulatory compliance
In addition to the process improvement plan, provide a framework. A process optimisation framework includes methodology, terminology, corporate-wide standards and values, but also documentation, checklists and forms. Keeping things aligned and standardised helps safeguard readability, interconnectivity and knowledge-sharing within your company. As the Process Optimisation Manager, you must monitor and, if necessary, correct process improvement workshops and results to remain within the process optimisation framework.
Before you spread out a company-wide plan to optimise everything, test your framework during a pilot process optimisation, get insights and adapt your approach. Process optimisation is challenging as humans are somewhat reluctant to change. So be prepared, listen to your team and find the best solution with them, not against them. Eventually, process optimisation is fun.
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