Process improvement solutions should be created quickly at the least cost possible and be sustainable once in place.
To solve process problems fast is a core capability for successful organizations that are seeking sustained and/or growing profits. After all, a business is a set of processes, core and supporting processes. When these flow without problems, efficiency, and effectiveness improve and can be further enhanced.
The core of maximizing process profit centers around the organization’s ability to deal with problems and opportunities fast and effectively.
This ability to solve problems and maximize opportunities should be simple enough so that it can be used by all employees, however, it should be powerful enough to make a significant difference in performance, and ultimately increase profits.
The basic principles that drive basic process improvement approach to process improvement we named UDCA and contain four elements:
- Understand to opportunity
- Do to Solve
- Check to Achieve
- Act to Assure
Those of you with basic quality or improvement experience will recognize that some elements of Understand-Do-Check-Act (UDCA) are more or less taken from the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) approach. Although several differences and enhancements have been made.
Our Approach to developing Process improvement solutions
Profitable Processes has taken the above basic principle, which in themselves may appear as a stepwise approach to improvement, to create a proven approach to maximize profit opportunities.
We at Profitable Processes are in a fortunate position to have acquired much experience, in both service and production environments, to distill many tools and techniques available in process improvement down to the essential few.
We have packaged our solution and call it Basics Problem Improvement (BPI).
The steps of the Basics Problem Improvement are:
- Define the opportunity
- Identify the root cause / driver
- Develop and implement solutions
- Sustain the gains
Basic problem improvement 1: Define the opportunity
Opportunities in themselves are of various types including decision making and problem-solving that may result in cost-saving, productivity improvement, sales growth, etc.
In defining the opportunity, a charter is written containing all the details about the opportunity. The team takes their cue from this document to focus their improvement efforts.
Basic problem improvement 2: Identify the root cause/driver
Root causes are about identifying and understanding the vital few variables and factors that most influence the outcome of a process. We refer to these variables and factors and levers. Learn more about them by visiting our Improve Performance of Key Levers page.
Basic problem improvement 3: Develop and implement solutions
Identifying, sifting through, prioritizing, and selecting a solution is the first Phase of this step. It is followed by developing and testing the solution. And finally, about implementing the solution.
Basic problem improvement 4: Sustain the gains
It is one thing to solve process problems fast, which most can do, but it is quite another to do so sustainably. By following the process described, solutions will stick, that is not Slip back into old patterns. To further support sustainability, various controls are set in place.