Investing in Key Process Improvements to Reach Organizational Goals

May 22, 2014

by Matin Karbassioon

Goal setting is an essential component of growth planning. But if you fail to include continuous improvement as an integral part of your plan, your goals might not come to fruition.

Establishing process improvements around cross training, standard work, and elimination of variations are just a few proven ways to build a more engaged workforce and a sounder enterprise.

Identify Your Most Pressing Business Needs

In order to determine where to begin, you should first pinpoint which area of the business needs the most help. Start by taking a step back and assessing what you are trying to accomplish and what could be impeding you from achieving it.

For example, suppose your goal is to grow sales. The first thing you should ask yourself is: Are our key processes for growing sales robust and efficient?

Define Key Processes for Achieving Goals

Next, define the key processes that are directly tied to accomplishing your goals. So if your goal is to grow sales, look at your current sales process.

Perhaps there’s a serious lag time between when a customer submits an RFQ (request for quote) and when you furnish them with pricing information. Maybe it takes your organization seven days on average, and customers frequently get fed up and move on to another vendor. The long lead time within your RFQ process in effect becomes a direct barrier to your goal of growing sales.

Take Steps to Improve Defined Processes

Once you have defined the key processes, focus on the steps needed to improve them. So in this sales growth scenario, one key process defined for improvement was the need for an efficient customer RFQ experience.  Next, you need to determine what steps to take to improve price inquiry response time. By focusing on process improvements related to your most pressing needs, you’ll be far more likely to achieve the goals you set for your organization.

Involve a Diverse Group in the Improvement Process

Another crucial step in the improvement process is to involve and engage a broad team of stakeholders. The more people you involve, the more voices and opportunities there will be to improve the processes. Including representatives from your sales, operations, customer service and supply chain teams is a great way to gain a fresh, new perspective on how key processes impact all corners of your operation and how they can be more clearly defined. Cross-functional teams are better able to call out and develop opportunities for standard work, cross training, and the elimination of variation in workflow.

Document and Share the Knowledge

It’s also paramount that you avoid investing too much responsibility or isolated knowledge in any one person. Placing all your eggs in one basket puts you at serious risk if that person is suddenly gone– especially if your processes aren’t documented. Share the tribal knowledge and take the time to document and cross-train employees on key processes.

Get Important Feedback

Engaging an outsider as an objective sounding board and facilitator to assist in the improvement process can be very illuminating. Though not mandatory to achieving transformation, this kind of objectivity can really help some of your tenured players see the forest for the trees and bring to light some issues that those immersed in the minutiae of business processes may have missed.

Contact Continuous Improvement

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CONNSTEP is a resource for small and midsized CT businesses. We understand your opportunities and challenges, and most importantly, how to make your business perform at its best. Our proven methods, years of experience, and track record of results have made us the go-to resource in process improvement.
 

CONNSTEP solved a huge problem for us and helped us bring our delivery rate to 100%. As a direct result of that, we have been awarded with an increase in business which, ultimately, will also benefit (our supplier) Har-Conn.”

CT manufacturer Pegaasus

Chris DePentima

CEO, Pegasus Manufacturing Inc.

“I see great value in the new experiences and perspectives CONNSTEP brings to our business, at reasonable prices. They’re not like consultants, they’re like partners in the business – willing to roll up their sleeves and help.”

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Mark Burzynski

President, Arthur G Russell Co

“CONNSTEP has proved to be a tremendous resource for ESI. CONNSTEP has helped us to adapt to today’s marketplace and remain a quality minded, competitive global player. Our ISO/TS16949 implementation process was efficient and rewarding. I look forward to our future projects with CONNSTEP.”

esi CT manufacturer

Ron Delfini

President, Engineering Specialties Inc.

“CONNSTEP worked with FuelCell Energy to educate and facilitate Lean initiatives and to help meet our needs to establish an overall production improvement plan. This plan has been utilized over a period of time as a ‘guiding light’ to spur numerous improvements that dramatically reduced our product cost.”

Tom Lucas

Manager, Fuel Cell Energy

“CONNSTEP is a valuable partner to Hologic, providing the expertise and ‘outside eyes’ everyone needs to keep their continuous improvement on track. We are now well-positioned on a dynamic growth path and look forward to a long-term relationship with CONNSTEP.”

Greg Safarik

VP Manufacturing Operations, Hologic

“Our experience working with CONNSTEP has brought us benefits we never expected. It’s a great team to work with!”

Bruce Wheeler

VP of Operations, Metal Finishing Technologies Inc.

“The goals of the team were to reduce manufacturing lead-time, reduce floor space utilized, and increase worker productivity. All the goals were met. CONNSTEP helped us to better compete.”

Tornik CT manufacturer

Dan Rubbo

General Manager, Tornik LLC

“The Business Growth Program is working well for us. We enhanced our website following the meetings to improve our SEO and become more visible to search engines. The segment on negotiating …  promoted changes in our thinking and improved how we interact with customers. The mentoring between sessions was helpful in boosting our progress.”

CT manufacturer Colonial Spring

Bill Lathrop

President, Colonial Spring Co.

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