The best recipe for managing and delivering change is to balance the change across three key dimensions: people, process and technology. In today’s challenging economic environment, many organizations are trying to change or simply manage core business processes with fewer resources available to them. At the core of this change is a focus on business process excellence.
A firm’s core processes are the building blocks of how it adds value by providing products and services to its customers. Companies that leverage process excellence as a competitive advantage to maximize ‘value add’ for the customer typically are the companies who compete and grow most effectively.
Through experience, senior business leaders have learned one key to managing a successful business is to set a goal of continuous process improvement, the cornerstone of business process excellence. At the heart of process improvement is the science of statistical process control. By developing and refining a more efficient and reliable set of core business processes based on measurement systems, a company can increase the quality of its products and services while reducing production costs. A number of different techniques are used, and one of the most common is Six Sigma.
The Six Sigma approach is an advanced methodology, first applied in manufacturing environments. Production teams establish measurement systems and statistical controls to understand the quality of process outputs, and identify and reduce defects in manufacturing processes. By measuring the rate of failure and identifying the root cause of these defects, product quality increases, while manufacturing and service costs are reduced. The application of Six Sigma has successfully expanded from manufacturing into other industries such as health care, financial services and information technology, producing significant results and cost savings.
TQM (Total Quality Management) is a broader process improvement approach and involves participation from a larger segment of the corporation, including senior management, forecasting and planning groups, human resources and production and service departments.
Now and in the future, forward-looking companies are making larger investments in process improvement techniques via training programs and consulting partnerships. Often, a firm can make a significant ‘step change’ toward business process excellence by embracing a full program such as Six Sigma or TQM. These firms are focused on being more competitive to help ensure their long-term success and survival in the quickly changing global economy.
You may want to examine if your company is activity engaged in a process improvement program; most of the today’s top business leaders today believe this is a core requirement to maintain and grow their business.
T.J. Eberle is president and CEO of NouvEON, a regional business and technology consulting firm. Contact him at 704-944-3155 or visit www.NouvEON.com.