Businesses measure success by measuring their key metrics – growth, productivity, longevity, and profitability. Leaders know that they must deliver consistent, quality output if their businesses want to crush their goals with these metrics. Both product and service-based enterprises need to tailor their approach to provide value. The best way to get an excellent product is to set up excellent, efficient, and effective business processes.
At the end of the day, process excellence is a win-win for all concerned. Owners, leaders, and employees enjoy profits, while customers benefit from the value of the end product or customer service. When we see the power of robust process management, it’s no wonder that process excellence is a goal that many successful businesses aspire to achieve. This article will analyze what process excellence is, dive deeper into the obstacles businesses face, and share tips to attain process excellence.
What Is Process Excellence?
Process excellence, also called business process excellence, is a method for improving business processes to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, and productivity. To attain process excellence, a process is examined, changed, and tested until it fulfills the objective. Additionally, it sets a benchmark for quality against which processes are evaluated. The process excellence goal is to optimize the process while considering all variables in order to achieve continuous process improvement.
Process excellence emphasizes that there is never a final level to attain and that continuous monitoring is crucial. As long as a procedure is in place, there will always be opportunities to streamline it, make it more efficient, and produce better results. Businesses identify and address bottlenecks, fix issues that may arise in a process, and monitor the progress of a process.
Businesses aim for process excellence because it helps them improve how they create and deliver value to their customers and stakeholders. Excellent processes lead to consistent outputs with little room for variation or waste. The operational benefits of process excellence have been proven through research. Creating, following, and adjusting processes for efficiency leads to tangible and sustainable business success.
What Are the Obstacles to Process Excellence?
As with many things in life, goals are rarely achieved without the right drive. Once leaders and employees get the motivation to improve, that’s when sustained expansion can occur. However, even with the best intentions, achieving process excellence is much easier said than done.
Some companies are overly optimistic about their existing processes. But unfortunately, looking at things through rose-colored lenses doesn’t allow leaders to recognize and acknowledge potential gaps that could be improved.
On the flip side, some management leaders are overly pessimistic about the investment they would need to improve their processes and are unsure about the ROI. If they believe that the ends may not justify the means, they are less likely to make any changes to their current processes. Unfortunately, sooner or later, the gaps in processes usually widen if they aren’t resolved or improved, leaving these companies lagging behind competitors who focus on process excellence.
What Are the Benefits of Process Excellence?
When measuring sustainable business success, it’s important to look beyond profitability. The other benefits of process excellence include:
- Satisfied, loyal employees
- An agile workforce
- Effective teamwork
- Smooth integration of technology
- Reduced risk of human error
- High standards
- Improved productivity
- Value-based products and services
- Happy customers
- Sound market reputation, solid brand identity
Now that we understand the benefits, how can businesses work toward process excellence?
5 Tips to Bring About Process Excellence
1. Keep an Eye on It!
Peter Drucker famously said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” If you don’t measure, then how do you know how you are doing?
The best way for companies to keep an eye on their processes is to visualize and track their progress. Looking at the big picture, efficient management methodologies and tools like the Six Sigma principles can help achieve the required results by delivering consistent, positive outcomes with minimum variation.
As a business manager, when you break down each business process and analyze each step, you can clearly understand potential loopholes. Reviewing your processes regularly will help identify and eliminate risks on time. Business Process Management platforms align the delivery of business goals through the organization, management, improvement, and automation of simple or complex processes.
From time-tracking software to programs that monitor your budget and resources, the right technology can help you keep an eye on each step of your business process. Even the most successful businesses may find it challenging to keep up with daily operational costs while working toward sustainability and growth. You need working capital to:
- Successfully maintain your processes
- Account for emergencies
- Tide through cash outflows
- Fund new opportunities when they arise
- Expand your services or product line(s)
- Keep up with seasonal demands
- Invest in new technology
- Onboard skilled manpower
When you constantly evaluate and measure your requirements, you will know how much working capital you need at any time.
2. Keep It Lean
Shigeo Shingo, an expert on manufacturing practices and the Toyota Production System, said, “The most dangerous kind of waste is the waste we don’t recognize.“
Process excellence involves improving existing steps and tasks by planning, organizing, and preparing for long-term growth. When you know your business goals, you can then map out the best and easiest way to get there. However, it is equally important to recognize what to avoid.
When you identify ways to save money, resources, and time without compromising on the quality of your output, you eliminate waste and keep your processes lean.
3. Keep It Agile
“Excellent firms don’t believe in excellence — only in constant improvement and constant change.” Tom Peters said.
Businesses need to be more productive and innovative when they want to beat the competition and scale up. However, the last few years have taught us that we also need to expect the unexpected. So, staying on our toes and remaining agile is the key to survival and long-term growth.
Keep up with the latest trends in your industry to identify which processes you can change or upgrade to build a business model that truly evolves with the times!
4. Keep It Customer-centric
Customers keep businesses in business! So, it’s easy to understand why customers are the key ingredient to consistent growth.
This is also why you must keep your customer’s experience in mind when planning your processes. Invest in the time and resources required to understand your target audience and their pain points, and evaluate their touch points with your business. Then, you can identify ways to optimize your processes to satisfy them with personalized experiences and exceptional targeted services. This is process excellence at its best!
5. Keep the Culture Alive
“Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is Success.” Henry Ford, Founder of the Ford Motor Company and sponsor of the Assembly Line said.
Creating a culture of process excellence starts from the top and makes its way down to the employees of any successful business. When the C-suite emphasizes the importance of continuously working on its processes, they lead by example.
Develop an “all hands on deck” approach when working towards process excellence. Involve and empower your employees and team members while making changes so that they are equally invested in the outcomes.
Another aspect of a productive culture is smoothening out kinks in the workflow.
People can’t work efficiently if their processes hinder instead of accelerating their progress. According to industry research, 36% of employees said visualizing their organizational goals more effectively would amplify their satisfaction and job performance. When creating your processes, walk in your employees’ shoes to understand their obstacles and find practical solutions. Satisfied employees are more motivated and willing to achieve more, which in turn drives home the need for continuous process excellence.
Process excellence is a time-perfected endeavor that corporations need to improve upon existing workflows and introduce new methodologies to ensure not only organizational success but also long-term benefits to employees and executives alike. The shapes and forms it takes depend on the industry, timeline, and objectives of your corporation. Whether you are setting up a new venture or optimizing your existing operations, working towards process excellence provides you with an evolving, flexible, and outcome-based business model that can survive and thrive! Make sure to keep our 5 handy tips in mind when mapping out your process excellence goals!