5 unnecessary processes that prevent Operational Excellence
Kevin Wiltshire, senior consultant discusses 5 processes that prevent operational excellence.
Any initiative to ensure operational excellence within your organisation should incorporate the on-going review of your processes. The speed at which your staff or technology carry out regular tasks, the journey your customers take to making a purchase and the weeding out of waste are all considered essential to achieving ‘True North’. But it’s not always easy to spot the areas in your business that are more of a hindrance than a help on the road to creating a culture of continuous improvement. The following advice will help you improve processes and achieve long term business success.
Do you have employees who wait around for others in order to carry out their daily tasks? Do you have staff members who duplicate work or complicate your processes by being inefficient? Examining the way people work within your organisation is one of the first steps to becoming a Lean, organised and effective company. Identify areas where people are a barrier to producing the goods and services your customers need and then improve the procedures or resources you have in place.
Operational excellence requires minimum waste and efficient processes across the business. And transporting goods, materials or even people unnecessarily is one of the greatest costs to your organisation. Fuel, time spent by drivers, vehicle rental or depreciation and storage of parts or products could all be avoided by improving the transportation processes in your business. For example, implementing the ‘Just in Time’ principle for production and delivery can cut out significant waste from transportation. And you could also investigate the possibility of alternatives, such as couriers or fulfilment services from third party providers, both of which could reduce your costs and cut waste.
Customer service processes
Unhappy customers are one of the most significant barriers you can face while trying to achieve operational excellence. You might think that when a customer returns an order due to poor quality or defects it only costs you the value of the individual item. But there are numerous hidden costs associated with poor customer service and less than perfect products. Shipping, materials, as well as the time spent handling a complaint or organising a refund are all expensive to your organisation – these can be avoided. By reviewing your customer service processes you can carry out Root Cause Analysis, getting the origin of any serious product or service-related issues.
There are a few different areas you should look into when it comes to ensuring production processes are not preventing you from achieving operational excellence. The first is the efficiency of your work flows. For example, are your production processes or systems scattered? Do your team members spend time walking too far to access the parts they need? Do you wait for long periods for a delivery and therefore waste time while you could be manufacturing items your customers have ordered? If the answer to these is yes, you should eradicate the waste within your production processes.
Another way to reduce wasted resource and streamline production is to eliminate defects. By monitoring the errors in producing your products, you can correct the problem, saving your organisation time and money.
Thirdly, overproduction. Do you overproduce goods that are not required or even ordered by your customers? If so, you will be spending unnecessary money and time storing these products, which prevents you from operating as a Lean, efficient organisation. Effective inventory management is one of the cornerstones of operational excellence and can have a positive impact, not just on business costs and the bottom line, but on customer satisfaction.
Any continuous improvement project to enhance operational excellence should incorporate a review of the manual processes within your organisation. Following this, a crucial tactic to making your business as efficient as possible will be automation. An example could be your financing team who spend hours manually entering information into spreadsheets or printing then posting out invoices. This could be easily automated by investing in new software or moving invoicing to a digital, automated system for issuing (and reminding clients about) their invoices. Identify the repetitive manual tasks that could be a burden on people’s time and your organisation’s resources then remove them. It’s just one of the small ways you and each of your employees can help you get one step closer to an efficient, excellent organisation.
For more information on how Renault-Nissan Consulting can help you achieve Operational Excellence, contact us today.