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Maintaining Efficient Processes

Efficiency in a work process is difficult to maintain. Over time, processes that were once efficient become tangled by outdated documentation, inconsistencies in work patterns, and by managers bypassing problems with workarounds instead of stripping away bad practices to get back to basics. Typically, new hires are taught these workarounds and even the best processes become compounded. These practices can help you to get back to your efficient work environment.

1) Get Back to Basics: The Customer!

The customer may not always be right but their perception certainly is. Take a look at internal and external customer satisfaction with the work, service, or product your process is producing. Are you meeting deadlines? Are you fulfilling your commitments and promises? Are your customers confused? Knowing how your customer views the various platforms of your company is a great starting place in understanding where things have gotten convoluted.

2)   Find the First Layer of Confusion.

Once you have identified where your processes have become thick, the first step in cleaning them up is to find out how each job is being processed. Many times a job has far too many unnecessary steps within the process or too many hands involved. Talk to the heads of departments and to the individuals on the ground-floor and ask how they complete their tasks, step-by-step. Look for waste, then,

3)   Deal with Waste Directly

After you understand the components of your processes that waste time, money, energy, etc– get rid of them. If something doesn’t directly add value, consider cutting it.

4) Track Your Progress

To prevent an efficient process from becoming inefficient, you need to monitor its performance and capture the reasons for missing target goals. This way, you can identify and resolve barriers to efficiency as they occur, rather than reacting many steps downstream after passing along the defect in the process.

 

by Adam Vega

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