What makes a company successful? This is the number one question business leaders and industry analysts have been trying to answer for many years. Well, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy for business success. However, there are some things that all successful companies do invariably. Top on that list is constantly looking for opportunities to innovate and improve. It’s the ongoing effort to continuously improve all the elements of an organisation that separates them from the herd and puts them ahead of the pack.
The benefits of continuously improving both processes and products are plenty—right from improved product quality, increased efficiency and productivity to decreased cost. However, success doesn’t come easy. Building a culture of continuous improvement is no mean feat. In fact, a vast majority of continuous improvement efforts either fail or don’t deliver the expected results.
In this blog, we highlight key roadblocks you need to avoid to successfully create a culture of continuous improvement:
- Trying to accomplish too much, too fast: Embarking on a Continuous Improvement journey with an aim to improve the whole business at once is a classic mistake most businesses commit. Start small, think big should be your mantra. Start with one process at a time, but choose the one that has a big impact on the business. Identify a high volume, high-frequency process as a starting point. Making improvements to a process that is repeated several times during a day will give you clear results in terms of time and cost-saving. Once you have built credibility for your work, you can further identify priority processes to improve. Understand that effective change takes time.
- Not involving everyone in the staff: Most continuous improvement initiatives miss the mark because they don’t engage employees till the top-down level. For continuous improvement to be truly successful, everyone in the staff from leadership to the frontline employees should collaborate to drive the initiative. Since frontline staff is closest to executing the process, it’s essential to capture their insights. This will also resolve conflicts related to improvement ideas and the resistance to change. Further, it is important to ensure employees are consistently updated about improvement goals and objectives. Making your employees feel connected to the goals is key to embed a culture of continuous improvement. Recognising achievements and celebrating successes is also important to keep employees motivated and committed.
- No defined goals or progress measurement: How can you understand the impact of the project or its progress unless you have defined goals? To understand the output of the overall continuous improvement initiative, it’s imperative that you precisely define your goals right at the start of the project. Depending on your objective, whether it is time reduction, productivity increase or cost reduction, you can identify the right processes to map and direct your continuous improvement initiatives in the right direction.
Equally important is to measure the progress correctly. The monitoring should be done in a manner that the entire organisation gains immediate visibility into the project impact across key metrics, such as the number of improvements recommended vs completed, employees actively engaged in improvement, financial and efficiency impact, customer and staff satisfaction, etc. Dashboards across these key performance indicators ensure satisfactory outcomes from the project.
- Losing the project momentum: Most continuous projects start with a big bang. However, they fall off the track soon. This mainly happens at the process mapping stage. Process mapping is an extensive task as each process has 10-15 steps to complete. Oftentimes, teams start concentrating on delivering process maps only and lose the project momentum.
While project mapping is a vital stage that lays the foundation of your initiative, you can’t focus all your efforts on just getting current state mapping done. Hence, it’s for the overall benefit of the project that the top leader doesn’t get too involved in the stage. He should simply guide the team in the right direction to finish the current state mapping accurately and quickly. The emphasis should be on driving the project forward and the leader should keep his focus firmly on the overall objective. He should look at the bigger picture and get on the journey of analysing, improving and implementing.
- Not choosing the right fit software: Continuously improving the organisation’s current operations and managing its smooth transition to the desired state can be well managed with the right software. However, choosing a difficult-to-use tool completely defeats the purpose and can directly hamper the project’s progress. It’s important that you choose software, which is user friendly and intuitive. Software with an in-built analytical engine that automatically calculates process cycle efficiency, process cost and process value will give the insights to support your initiative. The tool should also have functionalities, such as best practice process library, simulation, improvement tracking, etc., to speed up your initiative and enable end-to-end improvement.
Contact Us to know how PRIME BPM can be your perfect partner in building a culture of continuous improvement in your organisation. From a cloud-based Business Process Management software to practical training courses, PRIME BPM offers product and services that can be used in any combination to assist you at any stage of your continuous improvement journey.