Process ImprovementToday, it is all about going new. People love new cars, new houses, new projects, new clothes, new vacation destinations.

Understandably, companies are having a hard time with keeping up with “the new” factor. Buildings, equipment and processes quickly are becoming old and obsolete. How do companies move toward a concept of “going new”

In the 1980s and 1990s it was all about process improvement and total quality management. Companies were focused on reducing costs and improving processes to better meet bottom-line financial goals and create better products/services. The process was all about documenting processes and understanding where issues existed in order to be able to address them with a better design and implementation.

Today, this topic of process improvement is taking quality to another level by building a better experience for employees and clients. Going “New” is a way to bring more innovation to the process.

Creativity is the key – Looking at things from a Different Perspective

Old model (10% improvement)

I’ve been in discussions with some of my co-workers about how to improve processes. They give specific examples of areas they would like to see improved, but their basis is all about working with the current system. This approach is helpful when a person is troubleshooting issues and looking for the best ways to improve individual processes.

New model ( 100% improvement)

Now, if you look at this same concept from another view point, “How could we make the whole system better to resolve this particular issue and similar issues?” Here is where the creativity comes in and we get to see people’s thoughts turn toward expansion of ideas and concepts. This is where the real magic happens.

The great news here is that the work it takes to complete the 10% improvement may not be that much less than the work it takes to make the 100% improvement. By looking at issues from a higher level, we may be able to resolve issues which lead to more growth and flexibility in the future.

Raise expectations – Think outside of your current system

Now some people may be skeptical of this method. I know I have been too. However, people get way too comfortable in settling for less and they are afraid that their suggestions may be out of line or may require too much work. In the past these ideas were squelched right away. However, with technology continuing to change at a rapid rate, it is time that our requirements and expectations also change.

Why do we continue to settle for status quo? When was the last time, Apple said we are coming out with a new update, but nothing will change from a user perspective, but behind the scenes everything will be better. If this were the case, would we rush out and get the new update or buy the latest, greatest phone? Our expectations are much higher with each and every update.

So why do we operate differently in our own companies? Maybe its time to change our thinking.

Summary

Look for ways to make a difference. (Not just 10% improvement, but 10×10 or 100% improvement). Capture the ideas from internal and external clients. You might be surprised at some of the items they are wanting to change. Create a better experience by focusing more on the whole experience rather than a small part of the experience. Issue management is important, but overall issue management may need to be looked at from a higher standpoint. The good news, the work involved may not be that much harder.