A process can be defined as a sequence of steps that produce the desired outcome. Defined and documented processes also ensure consistent outcomes. Logbooks are completed the same way, no matter who makes the entry. Invoices are processed correctly and completely, regardless of who handles them.
Continuous improvement is an ongoing effort to improve products or services. It helps ensure that a product steadily makes its way toward the best possible outcome. Continuous improvement begins with recognizing when processes and tasks need to be created, eliminated, or improved. Then a project manager must plan for and implement changes to keep the project on track. That’s where process improvement comes from.
As a company grows, detailed implementation processes can help it scale and sustain growth. Working to implement new processes thoughtfully can improve productivity and enhance efficiency. Learning how to execute an effective process implementation successfully can help you reduce waste and save time as you work toward your company’s objectives.
Process improvement is the practice of identifying, analyzing, and improving existing processes to enhance the performance of your team and to develop best practices or to optimize consumer experiences.
Process implementation refers to the strategic approach to helping an organization adopt new procedures. Businesses implement new processes for different reasons, including streamlining tasks, promoting efficiency, reducing errors or driving business growth. P
Process implementation usually involves guidelines for the execution and completion of the new tasks in an organization that guide work on a day-to-day basis. Process implementation is a significant part of management. When managers see that the status quo hinders business effectiveness, process implementation becomes the vehicle for positive change.
DMAIC A Six Sigma Process Improvement Methodology
Six Sigma is a data-driven process improvement methodology that seeks to improve the quality of any process from product to manufacturing to service by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes. Using Six Sigma Methodology, a business can strategize its plan of action and drive revenue increase, cost reduction and process improvements in all parts of the organization.
The fundamental objective of the Six Sigma methodology is the implementation of a measurement-based strategy that focuses on process improvement and variation reduction through the application of Six Sigma improvement projects. This is accomplished through the use of two Six Sigma sub-methodologies: DMAIC and DMADV.
When seeking to improve an EXISTING process, we apply the DMAIC methodology. DMAIC is a data-driven method used to improve existing products or services for better customer satisfaction. It is the acronym for the five phases: D – Define, M – Measure, A – Analyse, I – Improve, C – Control. DMAIC is applied in the manufacturing of a product or delivery of a service.
Define: A team of people, led by a Six Sigma champion, defines a faulty process on which to focus, decided through an analysis of company goals and requirements. This definition outlines the problem, goals, and deliverables for the project.
Before implementing any process, evaluate your organization to know the Available resources, Size of the workforce, and Level of employee skills. The available resources play a key role in process implementation. For example, if the company lacks the tools needed for a new process, employees may revert to the old process or stop doing that task altogether. Each employee’s current skill and knowledge determine how much training they need before they can master a new process.
This phase focuses on clearly specifying the problems; the goals of the process improvement project what is the scope of the project and identifying the customers (internal and external) along with their requirements. An input to this phase comes from the voice of customer (VOC), the voice of business (VOB) and/ or the voice of process (VOP).
Measure: The team measures the initial performance of the process. These statistical measures make up a list of potential inputs, which may cause the problem and help the team understand the process’s benchmark performance.
The operational definition of metric is devised. It gives common language & understanding of data being collected. Data Collection plan outlines what data to be collected? When to be collected? Who will collect? Hence, sets overall direction for data collection.
Analyze: Then the team analyzes the process by isolating each input, or potential reason for the failure, and testing it as the root of the problem. The team uses analytics to identify the reason for process errors.
The main objective of this phase is to find the root cause of business inefficiency. It identifies the gaps between actual and goal performance, determine its causes and opportunities for its improvement. This phase starts with exploring all possible causes to the main problem. Then, these causes are verified & validated though hypothesis & statistical tools. The outcome of this phase is verified root causes – which need to be acted upon to improve the process.
Improve: The team works from there to improve system performance. This phase improves the process by determining potential solutions, ways to implement them, test and implement them for improvement. In this phase, process owners are consulted and improvements are suggested. Action plan for the improvement is circulated to relevant stakeholders. This action plan specifies – Action to be taken; By when By whom etc. The improvement plan is designed to mitigate the risk and include customer feedback and satisfaction. With the formation of improvement action plan, implementation phase starts simultaneously. During implementation, actions are carried out, tested for effectiveness and implemented finally.
Control: The group adds controls to the process to ensure it does not regress and become ineffective once again.
The main objective of this phase is to generate a detailed solution monitoring plan. This plan ensures that the required performance is maintained. It defines and validates the monitoring system, develops standards and procedures, verifies benefits and profit growths, and communicates to business. Hence, the main purpose of Control phase is to ensure – Holding the gains.
During this phase, post-implementation results are evaluated. Progress is ascertained. And Changes are incorporated – if any, correction or modification is required. Control phase in most of the cases is a transition phase. Transition happens from current practices & systems into new practices.
The most important part of this phase is to provide training on new changes to all relevant stakeholders. There are different training programs companies use when implementing new processes, like these: Workshops, Seminars, Presentations, and Tutoring/mentorship programs
Another framework you can refer to when working through continuous improvements is PDCA. PDCA is a four-step process that focuses on identifying a problem, fixing that issue, assessing whether the fix was successful, and fine-tuning the final fix.
The steps are as follows: First, plan.
Here, you’ll identify the issue and root cause and brainstorm solutions to the problem.
Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) process
Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) helps organizations create NEW products, services and processes in a way that ensures customer satisfaction by using a structured framework (DMADV, IDDOV, or DMADOV)
DMADV is a part of the Design for Six Sigma (DFSS) process used to design or re-design different processes of product manufacturing or service delivery. The five phases of DMADV are: D – Define, M – Measure, A – Analyse, D – Design, V – Validate. DMADV is employed when existing processes do not meet customer conditions, even after optimization, or when it is required to develop new methods.