To sustain process excellence gains is about ensuring all the effort that has gone into improving the performance of a process sticks and is not lost down the line. Sustain the gains is about ensuring the solution implemented sticks, and the expected profit increase is realized.
We have heard reports that some companies expressed frustration that so much effort has been invested in developing solutions to improve process profit, and in the end, the expected profits were not gained nor maintained.
Our experience is to the contrary. We have found that when the real problems/opportunities, that is those that really matter to the organization or process, are addressed, and when the appropriate change management has been applied, and when simple controls are in place, the gains are sustained.
Top 5 Practices to Sustain Process Excellence Gains
Several factors play a role to ensure grins are sustained. Most are simply good management during the solution finding and implementation phase. And basic controls to ensure all understand what is required and regularly reviewed.
Sustain Process Excellence Gains Practice 1: Solution Quality
Naturally, it goes without saying that the quality of solution needs to be appropriate, with fail-safes (Poka-Yoke) built-in, and all stakeholders fully trained.
- a robust process to identifying real problem and opportunities are followed,
- the problem and opportunity is clearly defined
- the appropriate and right tools and practices are adopted to address the problem / opportunity
- the right support provided
… then many of the key ingredients are in place to ensure grins are sustained.
Sustain Process Excellence Gains Practice 2: Standard Operating Procedures
Standard operating procedures (SOP) need to be in place, accessible, and available to those that need to follow them. These SOPs need to be kept current and those that need to work to them are appropriately trained on the content thereof.
Sustain Process Excellence Gains Practice 3: Assessments & Audits
Within the first period (3-6 months) after the full solution is implemented, at least 2 assessments/audit against the standard operating procedure need to take place to ensure the solutions is correctly adhered to.
Sustain Process Excellence Gains Practice 4: Performance Metrics
For the first 12 months (and preferably ongoing thereafter) the process output, process performance metric, should be visibly displayed and monitored for deviations. Management should show an active interest in these metrics.
Sustain Process Excellence Gains Practice 5:Response Plan
An Out of Control Response Plan (OCRP) should detail the actions to be tacked when the process performance moves out of control. This includes the escalation procedure.
The above 5 practices are taken from various disciplines including quality management, continuous improvement, and project management fields.
- Know how your processes are performing
- Map your processes
- Improve the performance of those key levers
- Solve process problems fast.
- Sustain the gains.