How can organisations stay ahead of the curve in today’s fast-paced business world? The key lies in continually refining processes, products and services to increase efficiency and effectiveness and meet customers’ demands. Thus, organisations need to prioritise Continuous Improvement to stay on top of their game.
One look at any business that has been around for a while and growing bigger makes it evident that Continuous Improvement remains at the heart of its DNA. Continually monitoring and improving business operations and performance is definitely a vital component of long-term success. Businesses that emphasise continuous Improvement continue to increase their market share on account of improved quality, increased efficiency, enhanced innovation, better customer service and improved employee satisfaction.
Given these benefits, building a Continuous Improvement culture always remains high on the agenda of business leaders. To see measurable results, the first step is putting together the right team.
Building a Continuous Improvement team
To build a continuous improvement team equipped to drive change and deliver results, follow this step-by-step approach:
Define the team’s objectives and goals: Clarify what the team will be responsible for and what outcomes are expected. It always pays off to define parameters, such as how the success will be measured at the initial stage itself, as it results in targeted efforts.
Assess the skills and knowledge of current team members: From the existing teams, identify high-performing, self-driven team members with relevant skills and expertise who can contribute to the continuous improvement team.
Identify skill gaps: Determine if there are skills and knowledge gaps within the team. In case you identify a gap, either bridge it by providing relevant training to existing employees or hire a team member with appropriate skills.
Involve key stakeholders: Ensure that key stakeholders, such as department heads and senior management, are involved in the process of building the team and have a clear understanding of its objectives.
Ensure Diverse Skills: Continuous Improvement requires constant collaboration and efforts from professionals with diverse and specialised skills. Hence, ensure well-rounded capabilities in the team with individuals from different backgrounds and experiences to bring a fresh perspective and drive innovation.
Must-have skills for your Continuous Improvement team
Your Continuous Improvement team needs 4-6 individuals with a combination of these skills:
Project Management Skills: As the central figure in a project’s success, a Project Manager must supervise every aspect of its progress. This includes defining the project’s scope, assigning duties and responsibilities, establishing timelines, and monitoring progress to guarantee efficient completion. For the project management role, look for individuals with excellent communication skills to present findings and recommendations effectively. These individuals should be able to drive cross-functional collaboration to run process improvement initiatives across the departments.
Process Modelling skills: Having an expert in business process mapping/modelling is crucial for the purpose of continuous Improvement. Process maps are the first step to understanding any lag in the current process and are the starting point for an improvement initiative.
Analytical skills: Your team needs an individual who has relevant expertise and experience to analyse your current processes and identify process waste, delays, bottlenecks, etc., to suggest relevant improvement opportunities. Having a process analyst is important to get insights into your current process time, efficiency and performance and how it compares with the industry threshold. These insights come in handy to target your improvement initiative and identify automation opportunities.
Change Management Skills: Change management is a key step to ensuring seamless transition and implementation of the improved process. Look for a change expert who is an effective communicator so that he can clearly articulate the change and its rationale to the frontline staff. Change expert also needs to collaborate with leadership to identify and evaluate the people-related risks and develop strategies to mitigate them.
Technology skills: Your team also needs to include someone who is an expert in technology with a deep understanding of business needs. This person would work closely with business leaders to comprehend requirements and identify the right-fit technology or solution to address the pain point and achieve the expected outcomes. They also ensure any new technology’s interoperability with the existing business applications and systems.
Financial skills: In your continuous improvement team, you also need a person with financial expertise to monitor project expenditures and revenue and provide administrative support. This role is essential in ensuring the financial viability of the project and maintaining budget control.
Maximise the value of Continuous Improvement
Once you have a structured and balanced team in place, you need a toolset to ensure your continuous improvement efforts are aligned with organisational goals. A tool designed for both process experts and business users proves extremely beneficial in driving improvement while meeting business objectives. The tool also ensures standardised documentation and consistent efforts.
One tool that is designed with continuous improvement in mind is PRIME BPM which comes with an inbuilt methodology combining the power of disciplines—Lean, Six Sigma and BPM. It helps you quickly and easily map, analyse, improve and monitor your business processes.
PRIME BPM comes with best-in-class functionalities, including rapid process mapping, one-click process prioritisation, one-click analysis on process cost, time and efficiency, an in-built risk and governance module, and more. PRIME BPM has helped many leading organisations establish a continuous improvement culture, check out some success stories.