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Synopsis

Optimize your business processes to achieve new breakthroughs in quotas and quality standards. Use our Process Improvement presentation – including common techniques and frameworks — to be more efficient at what you do.

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Slide highlights

List all benefits of business process improvement with this slide. Consider including productivity boost, employee satisfaction increase, reduced risk, compliance, client satisfaction increase, agility and technology integration.

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Use this slide to communicate your strategy around accountability. Remember, that by implementing the right systems, you can track progress, have the means to assess processes, set realistic deadlines and monitor responsibilities.

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With this slide, introduce your overall strategy for business process re-engineering with the purpose of increasing performance and lowering costs. Touch upon process analysis, process development and process tracking.

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34 questions and answers
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Some trends in business process improvement include the use of technology to automate processes, the implementation of lean methodologies to eliminate waste and improve efficiency, the use of data analytics to drive decision-making, and a focus on customer-centric processes. There is also a growing trend towards continuous improvement, where businesses are constantly looking for ways to improve their processes and performance.

There are numerous resources available for learning more about business process improvement. These include online courses on platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning. Books such as 'The Power of Business Process Improvement' by Susan Page and 'Business Process Change' by Paul Harmon are also helpful. Additionally, attending webinars, workshops, and industry conferences can provide valuable insights. Consulting with professionals in the field or hiring a business process improvement consultant can also be beneficial.

Business process improvement can be measured by tracking progress, assessing processes, setting realistic deadlines, and monitoring responsibilities. Other indicators of improvement include productivity boost, increased employee satisfaction, reduced risk, compliance, increased client satisfaction, agility, and technology integration.

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Overview

"Process improvement involves the business practice of identifying, analyzing and improving existing business processes to optimize performance, meet best practice standards or simply improve quality and the user experience for customers and end-users," as defined by "CIO United States."

Process improvement tools, methods and techniques include, but are not limited to:

"Forbes" recommends the below strategies from management leaders working in different industries for reviewing and improving business processes:

Imagine doubling your output – Kyle Hermans, be courageous

"Set a regular challenge for yourself and your team to imagine this: if we had to double what we are doing right now, how would we do it and how would our current processes support that?"

Adopt objective and key results models – Karthik Krishnan, Britannica Group

"OKR models start with business objectives and then cascade into department, team and individual objectives and expected outcomes. The 'why' and 'what' are defined while the 'how' is left to the teams/employees, empowering them."

Look at it through the lens of profitability – Andy Rodosevich, Hemp Depot

"While there seems to be a negative stigma around the concept of business profitability, if small businesses are not profitable, they can't keep people employed, fulfill their contracts and ultimately keep their portion of the supply chain moving."

Be comfortable with discomfort – Scott Amyx, Amyx Ventures

"Ask yourself what does this process serve? Is it still relevant? Is it optimized? What steps can be eliminated or streamlined? Are there manual, redundant or unnecessary steps? How can technology and automation help? Change is the only constant."

Ask for suggestions – Heather Newman, Content Panda/Creative Maven

"Ask your team for their opinions and suggestions on how the company can do better. Review submissions weekly and once or twice a year (depending on engagement and the severity of the issues raised) set up a meeting to brainstorm solutions."

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Application

To implement business process improvement, follow this guide, put together by project management software provider, Project Manager:

  1. Determine what needs to change – analyze your business process at a high level and identify necessary changes. You can uncover areas ripe for improvement by conducting a process audit to discover where issues and risks lay
  2. Analyze pain points – analyze prospective changes to understand how to realistically make improvements. Meditate on the following questions: What steps are creating roadblocks? What aspects are most time-consuming? Is there an undue increase in cost and resources? Is quality impacted?
  3. Get buy-in – get support from senior management to approve your plans for improvement. '"These improvements can take time and use resources, so without a commitment from senior management, you won't have the power to proceed," the experts say.
  4. Design the improvement process – redesign the inadequate part of your process and apply the improvements you deem necessary to increase efficiency.
  5. Make the change – implement your redesign. This may require changing existing systems, teams and processes, the experts warn.
  6. Review – track the progress of all improvements your venture implemented and make sure they're meeting the milestones you've set up. Also, be ready to tweak your plan accordingly as new issues arise.
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46 questions and answers
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Process improvement can contribute to achieving business goals by identifying and eliminating inefficiencies, reducing costs, and improving the quality of products or services. It involves analyzing the current business process, identifying areas of improvement, getting approval from senior management, redesigning the process, and implementing the changes. This can lead to increased efficiency, better use of resources, and improved customer satisfaction, all of which can help achieve business goals.

Process improvement can help in resource optimization by identifying and eliminating inefficiencies in the business process. This can be achieved by conducting a process audit to uncover areas that need improvement. Analyzing pain points can help understand what steps are creating roadblocks, which aspects are most time-consuming, and where there is an undue increase in cost and resources. Once these areas are identified, the process can be redesigned to increase efficiency, which in turn optimizes resource utilization.

Some strategies to manage the risks associated with process improvement include: identifying what needs to change by analyzing your business process at a high level, understanding the pain points in your process, getting buy-in from senior management, designing the improvement process, and implementing the changes. It's also important to monitor the process after implementation to ensure it's working as expected and make adjustments as necessary.

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Case study

"Making process improvements stick" by Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

Studies show that companies embracing process improvement practices enjoy significant improvements in efficiency and costs, "Harvard Business Review"("HBR") reports. The University of North Carolina's Brad Staats and the University of Oxford's Matthias Holweg and David Upton examined 204 lean projects launched from 2012 to 2017 at a European bank with more than 2,000 branches in 14 countries and serving more than 16 million customers. The researchers strived to get to the bottom of why some improvements are sustained and others aren't. To achieve this, they looked at the lean initiative, started by the head office. Here is what Holweg and Upton discovered:

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47 questions and answers
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The future of process improvement in the banking industry is promising. As studies show, companies that embrace process improvement practices experience significant improvements in efficiency and cost reduction. This trend is expected to continue as more banks adopt lean initiatives and other process improvement strategies. However, the success of these improvements depends on their sustainability, which is a focus of ongoing research.

The findings of the study can be applied to other sectors by adopting the principles of process improvement. This involves analyzing and improving existing business processes to enhance efficiency and reduce costs. It's important to note that the success of applying these findings to other sectors depends on the specific characteristics and needs of those sectors. However, the general principles of lean management, such as eliminating waste, improving workflow, and focusing on customer value, can be beneficial across a wide range of industries.

Some alternative strategies to process improvement include business process reengineering, total quality management, Six Sigma, and lean manufacturing. These strategies focus on different aspects of process improvement, such as eliminating waste, improving quality, and reducing variability. It's important to choose a strategy that aligns with the organization's goals and culture.

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  • Over the first four years, the bank launched 33 to 51 projects every six months, each involving 1,600 employees. Initial improvements in efficiency averaged 10%; the gains rose to 20% after a year and 31% after two years.
  • However, despite the impressive gains, 21% of projects failed to yield any improvements. Among the 79% that showed initial improvements, many regressed: only 73% were still producing results above baseline after a year and after two years the number fell to 44%.
  • The researchers examined whether projects that were initially successful could preserve the gains and show continuous improvement, but only 51% of them were continuing to improve a year after launch and after two years the figure dropped to 36%.
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45 questions and answers
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A business can ensure the sustainability of their process improvement projects by continuously monitoring and evaluating the progress of the projects. This includes identifying any areas of regression and taking corrective action. It's also important to involve employees in the process and provide them with the necessary training and resources. Additionally, setting realistic goals and expectations can help in maintaining the momentum of the project.

Continuous improvement in process improvement projects can lead to significant efficiency gains. For instance, initial improvements can average around 10%, and these gains can increase to 20% after a year and 31% after two years. However, it's important to note that continuous improvement is necessary to maintain and further these gains. Without it, many projects may regress or fail to yield any improvements.

A business can mitigate the risks of project failure in process improvement by implementing a robust project management system, setting clear and achievable goals, providing adequate resources and training to the team, and continuously monitoring and evaluating the progress of the project. It's also important to foster a culture of continuous improvement and learning from past mistakes. Regular communication and feedback can also help in identifying potential issues early and taking corrective action.

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To interpret and explain the findings better, Holweg and Upton talked to the bank's managers in all 14 locations. The managers named visible support from board members and senior leadership as one condition needed to keep improving. Without it, frontline workers believe that the company's enthusiasm for the effort has waned, and backsliding ensues, the managers stated, according to "HBR." The need for consistent measurement and monitoring was also mentioned. "Addressing the low-hanging fruit is easy; it becomes harder in the long term," one of the bank managers shared with the researchers.

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Visible support from board members and senior leadership is crucial for enhancing the Process Improvement strategy in a company. It serves as a strong signal to the employees that the company is committed to the improvement efforts. This can boost morale and encourage frontline workers to actively participate in the process. Without this visible support, employees may perceive that the company's enthusiasm for the effort has waned, leading to a lack of motivation and potential backsliding. Furthermore, leadership support can help ensure consistent measurement and monitoring, which is essential for long-term improvement.

Banks can implement the Process Improvement framework to ensure consistent measurement and monitoring by first, establishing clear metrics that align with their business goals. These metrics should be regularly tracked and analyzed for any deviations or trends. Second, banks should foster a culture of continuous improvement where employees at all levels are encouraged to identify and suggest improvements. Third, there should be visible support from senior leadership to maintain momentum for the effort. Lastly, banks should not just focus on the "low-hanging fruit" but also invest in long-term process improvements that may be more challenging but can yield significant benefits.

The Process Improvement framework can be practically applied in the banking industry in several ways. Firstly, it can help in identifying and addressing inefficiencies in the banking processes. This could involve streamlining operations, reducing waste, and improving customer service. Secondly, it can assist in setting and achieving higher quality standards. This could involve enhancing the accuracy of transactions, reducing errors, and improving compliance with regulatory standards. Thirdly, it can aid in fostering a culture of continuous improvement. This could involve encouraging employees to seek ways to improve their performance, providing training and development opportunities, and recognizing and rewarding improvement efforts. Lastly, it can help in monitoring and measuring performance. This could involve setting performance metrics, tracking progress, and making necessary adjustments.

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