Let me start this article with a Question – What does an Organization comprise of?
Physical Assets, People (the most important asset), Technology, Secret Recipe… What else? Are we missing something big?
Yes, we are missing a Big Fish. Whether it is a small organization or it is a Multi National Company (MNC), be it a Techie organization or an Old school one,… in any case, an organization has hundreds and hundreds of processes which are interconnected.
Same like an Automobile, which has thousands of parts to be assembled in an organized way as per set of work instructions; Each organization has multiple processes which has to function in a sequence as per set protocols and should seamlessly gel together for the organization to be successful.
Unfortunately most cases it is not. And again Process Excellence is a continuous thing and never you can say ‘That’s it done!'; To be competitive at this dynamic world, processes have to be evolving, continuously revisited and improved upon. At this article, I will explain a basic methodology to approach a process issue. You can also read case studies at this link
The obvious starting point is to find out the current state of the process. The first and foremost thing to do is ‘Look for existing process documentation’. Most organizations which has a business issue has a very high chance that the process is not documented well or it is a mere set of papers of electronic document siting idle and not active in the point of use. The starting point is clearly document the current state.
Knowing the current state of business (processes) and problem is like half way down towards fixing the issues.
You can map the processes in multiple ways but I would suggest two powerful techniques – Functional Deployment Map and Value Stream Map. Since each tool in itself is a huge subject, I would be writing a detailed article on them separately.
When you map a process you use symbols like the Square (Activity), Diamond (Decision), Arrows (Flow) etc to visually document the process. The benefit of doing this is ‘It will give a bird’s eye view of what is really happening well and what is not’. You may also identify some very glaring issues prevailing which can be fixed in no time and almost at null cost. Those low hanging fruits are called the Quick Wins.
Quick Wins are easy to implement, doesn’t need big budget, solve a key business issue and also doesn’t take much time to implement. They are so powerful since the ROI (Return on Investment) is so high. From my personal experience, they are many projects we have closed by achieving the business objectives just by identifying quick wins. You can read the real live projects at following links: www.hesol.co.in/casestudies, www.alvislazarus.com/myblog
Solving the Business Problem:
- Understand the business issue and quantify it
- Document the current processes within scope of the business issue
- Collect all key business data related to current performance
- Brainstorm and analyse the probable root cause of the issue
- Simulate / Model to validate the root causes
- Fix the root of the issue. If the root causes are more, prioritize using a Pareto chart and fix the top contributors.
- Set up Process Controls to monitor the performance till it stabilizes
- Update the process documentation so that the improved processes become the routine
You may be still wondering, is this true? Just start by understanding and documenting the current state; I’m sure the business problems start to look tiny and fixable. All through out by career, I have been fixing and solving business problems and without a detailed look of processes nothing is possible.
About the Author: Alvis Lazarus is a ‘Senior Leader in Supply Chain & Logistics with more than a decade (15 Years) of SCM hands-on experience in devising Country Level and Global Supply chain strategies, Solutions design and spear heading Supply chain Implementation across 10+ Countries. He has handled All India Operations at 3M, Flipkart and Commonfloor and also served in a Global Consultant Role with Caterpillar. He is a Certified Lean & Six Sigma MBB and Champion – coached more than 500+ Lean and Six Sigma Green belts and Black Belts. Holds the distinction of driving Supply Chain programs across various industries such as Retail, E-Commerce, Automotive, FMCG, Health Care, Manufacturing and Real Estate.
To Know more about the Author – Follow this link
To read more case studies on E-Commerce and Supply Chain, Please visit hesol.co.in/casestudies/