You've probably heard a lot about process improvement methodologies — like Lean and Six Sigma, and you may be wondering how to get started. Maybe you're already familiar with these methods, but you need to figure out how to apply them to your business.
For most businesses, process improvement methodologies are a complex exercise requiring business process consultants' expertise. However, you can also implement them with a dedicated in-house team. This guide looks at:
- Implementing process improvement.
- The role of business process consultants.
- A step-by-step guide to getting started.
What is business process improvement?
Business processes are the way that your company does things. They involve looking at the steps in a given task and determining how these steps should be organized to be efficient and understandable for all employees and customers.
Streamlining business process improvements can lead to tremendous results in quality control and customer satisfaction if done appropriately. As an Ops leader, you can choose to handle these processes in-house or seek consulting services from a business process consultant.
Business process improvement is also known as business process management or a process improvement. Regardless of the name, they both seek to reduce waste in business processes, improve productivity and streamline efficiency.
The role of business process consultants in process improvement methodologies
Hiring a business process consultant may be a good idea, mainly if your business needs a new approach in its operations. A business process expert can help improve your company's efficiency and effectiveness by identifying and improving its most important business processes.
A good business process consultant will have experience working in a similar field. This gives them an advantage in providing advice on improving processes within the company.
When do you need a business process consultant?
You'll need a business process consultant when you want to maximize your business's efforts. This is necessary, especially when you're starting and want to focus on other business activities such as sales and promotion.
Business process consulting services can help improve productivity by rethinking your business's operations. They'll allow you to focus on what you know best and help everyone know exactly what needs to get done and when.
Why you need a business process consultant
Improving the efficiency of your company is key to its success. However, it cannot be easy to figure out what areas need improvement and how to accomplish them. That's where a business process consultant can help!
A business process consultant will partner with your team to assess current business process flows and recommend ways to improve them by working together as a team. Here is a look at some of the key reasons you need a business process consultant for your business.
1. To improve business processes
A business process consultant can help improve your business processes. They are trained to identify the inefficiencies in a process, suggest ways to improve them and communicate these changes through training materials or other methods.
2. Assess current business processes
A business process consultant can help you figure out your business processes. They help organizations assess their current operations and identify areas needing improvement. A good business process consultant will also help you determine how best to improve efficiency within the organization.
For instance, they’ll help you identify where to automate business processes and benefit from greater efficiency.
3. Support a transition to new technologies
A business process consultant can help if you want to introduce technologies in business processes. They have the expertise to help you roll out new technologies and understand the benefits of using them in your business processes.
For instance, a business process expert will help you learn how to use a business process modeling tool. They know how to select the right technology for each task or project.
4. Provide industry-specific advice
A business process consultant can help you understand your industry and its challenges. They will also be able to provide in-depth knowledge of the specific challenges faced by your industry, as well as best practices and trends currently used within this sector.
5. Work to improve company culture
A business process consultant can help you define the company culture and how it should be reflected in your work and business development process flow. You’ll be able to identify what makes employees happy and fulfilled at work.
This will help you create an environment where team members are motivated by their contributions.
Cons of outsourcing
It's always important to look at the challenges you may face before outsourcing a business process expert for your organization. Even though you'll benefit from a new perspective of doing things, outsourcing exposes you to risks such as:
- Loss of control of your business processes.
- It comes with hidden and unforeseen costs.
- There are always security and privacy issues.
- It’s never easy to select the right outsourcing approach for your business.
How to roll out process improvement in-house
As an Ops leader, outsourcing process improvement services only makes sense if you want to unlock exponential growth. If not, you may have already considered documenting your business processes in-house. Here is a simple guide on how to do some or all of the process improvement in-house.
1. Define what you want to improve
You need to start by defining what you want to improve. For example, what's the problem you're trying to solve, and what’s the end goal? Once you have your goal in mind, you can start thinking about the steps to get there. This may also include reviewing business process improvement examples and defining the changes you need to make to the process.
2. Understand how the current process works
The first step in any process improvement initiative is understanding how the current process works. This means taking a closer look at all the steps involved, how the process is currently managed and the results.
To achieve this, you'll need to gather data from various sources. This might include interviews with people directly involved in earlier processes or reviewing documentation and reports. Once you have this information, you can start developing a plan to improve things.
3. Identify potential bottlenecks
Identifying potential bottlenecks in the process is essential so you can focus your efforts on fixing them. Bottlenecks are mostly the challenges project managers face and anything slowing down the process. Identifying potential bottlenecks will help you track all the business process flows and start brainstorming possible solutions.
4. Develop a plan for improvement
You've decided that you want to improve your process. That's great! However, you need to develop a solid improvement plan. The plan should provide a roadmap for achieving set goals and managing expectations among the team.
To avoid confusion in the implementation phase, automate process documentation using Scribe and Scribe Pages. This will save you hours on process documentation and help your teams work 10x faster. It’s also a cost-effective approach compared to manually documenting processes.
5. Team training
Before assigning any team members their respective roles, you must ensure they're adequately trained. Gauge their abilities and knowledge to create a training program that successfully meets the process improvement needs.
Besides training, you can rely on Scribe and Scribe Pages to create step-by-step guide templates for your team. This is an excellent solution for turning the digital process into how-toa guides, complete with text and screenshots.
Here is a Scribe on how to create a new channel on Slack.
6. Implement the plan
After all the hard work, the final and most crucial step is implementing the plan. Here, you want to ensure the success of your business process improvement by adhering to the following:
- Set clear goals and objectives for the project. Ensure everyone involved is on the same page about their expectations.
- Create a timeline for the project and make everyone aware of it.
- Document your processes while you work by using Scribe to automatically generate step-by-step visual guides, ready to share with the click of a button. This will ensure a seamless process with no surprises down the road.
- Delegate tasks and responsibilities to team members, stay organized and keep track of progress throughout the project. This will help ensure that everything stays on track.
7. Evaluate the results
You've come this far, so it's essential to evaluate the results of your process improvement initiative. Did you achieve the results you were hoping for? If not, why not? What needs to change to make the process more effective?
Don't be afraid to get candid feedback from your team—they're the most affected by the process and can provide valuable insights into what's working and what's not.
Final Thoughts: Business process consultants
Process improvement can seem daunting, but it's simple if you have the right plan. With a little planning and organization, you can get started immediately and see results in no time. However, you should always consult a business process consultant if you want expert insight to help you change how you do things to improve the efficiency of your business.