Back to Basics: 8 Process Improvement Tips for 2018

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When planning a process improvement project, teams often focus on the complex variables first and foremost – forgetting the basic principles of process mapping, design, and deployment…

…but if you want to try something different, we can help.

We created Back to Basics: Our Exclusive Process Improvement Tip Series to help guide you and your team through the daunting task of process improvement. Our team are the experts in this field and know how to turn a good process into a great one.

Our Businesses Analysts have many years of experience in process improvement – Successfully working with a number of companies in a variety of industries to transform their failing processes. Along the way, we have picked up a few great tips, tricks and critical considerations which you may have overlooked.

From defining your process usability to building in intelligent automation, we hope you find our insight useful and don’t forget to let us know your top process improvement tips!

TIP 1: Start with what you have, plan for what you need

The first step when building a better process is to honestly define your process as it is. Clearly outline the starts and stops. Many projects are held back by endless iterations and updates which can seem overwhelming. So, to kick off an improvement project focus on delivering a skeleton version that you can build on, that way you can logically apply the improvements you need as you progress.

Need a hand getting started? View our Process Mapping Guide which contains some key questions for you to consider. 

TIP 2: Find a way to reduce your dependence on traditional software

You can’t audit email trails and manual spreadsheet maintenance can be risky. When looking at your process, consider how to systemise and centralise the tasks these systems normally cover, to make sure you can report, monitor and store information securely.

Low-code development is an evolution of traditional software – Designed to increase business process adaptability, productivity, and transparency of internal systems. Learn more about Low-code and watch our video below.

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TIP 3: Agree on what your process needs to achieve

Get everyone around the table to define exactly what needs to be achieved. Look at the process individually and not as part of the bigger picture. Define the start and the stop points. Then move on to the next stage.

Remaining logical and strategic when process mapping all attributes to achieving Lean Operational Efficiency – Where all input and output resources have been carefully considered and actioned accordingly. Our Operational Efficiency white paper offers further insight into this.

TIP 4: Don’t overthink the workflow

The actions and rules you apply to define the functionality of a process should be a decision followed by a yes or no answer, that leads to another decision or action. Never try to apply maybe.

Succinct actions that flow seamlessly allow you to systemise time and drive productivity. With intelligent task allocation and automated decision making, discover LEAP’s Workflow Function.

TIP 5: Focus on the exceptions

A good process will handle things as you expect them, a great process will help manage what you can’t predict. If you are struggling to define your process you probably have a large number of exceptions. When broadly categorised, decide how they should be handled and reported so you can build them into the mainstream functionality of your process.

The importance of thorough and analytical process mapping is evident here. We can help by hosting a meeting with your business to discuss your requirements – ensuring all actions no matter how unexpected are accounted for and mapped accordingly.

TIP 6: Define how you measure success

Reduced cycle times? Lower cost? Automated admin? Better reporting? Whatever your parameters, your performance improvement indicators need to be clearly defined so they can be reported and measured.

An effective business is one that never stops striving for improved performance and the crux of this lies in the power and effectiveness of your reporting capabilities. Discover LEAP’s Reporting Suite.

TIP 7: Automate where you can

Most repeatable tasks can be automated, from data collection through to document update, dispatch and storage. Find the stages in your process that are purely rule driven and repeatable that shouldn’t require a person to action and apply automation. This will speed up your process immeasurably.

The benefits of automating a manual process are endless. Watch our video below to learn more about how you can improve your system control, accountability and reporting with Process Automation.

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TIP 8: Humanise where you must

Even with automation, it’s important to recognise that to provide an excellent customer service, you will need staff to interact and make decisions. Guide them with documentation stored within the process at the appropriate time to help support that decision making, reduce error and turnaround time plus ensure customers are well supported.

Process automation doesn’t necessarily mean robotic and can lead to a smoother, more transparent service for your customers when the right balance is struck. Discover LEAP’s seamless Customer Communication features.