Do you have business improvement processes set up in your business? If not, you could be on a road to disaster. Please keep reading to learn more about the importance of business improvement processes for your business.
Business improvement is more than just a buzz-word. It is something that can be applied to any business and is absolutely critical to ensure the success of your business.
Whether you’re running a one-man show, a local small enterprise or a national company, business improvement practices can be employed to boost customer retention and satisfaction, reduce employee turnover, and improve your bottom line.
Business Process Improvement is a broad field which includes Six Sigma, Agile and other methods of continuous improvement and process management.
There are numerous methodologies to choose from, some of which are better suited to different industries or to different company sizes.
At High Velocity, we take a bespoke approach to business improvement and coaching, working with companies to help them identify the best continuous business improvement approach to suit their needs.
It can sometimes be hard to visualise the impact that business improvement might have on your company however, it’s easy enough to list the impacts:
However, where do those improvements really come from? Let’s take a look at a few examples from big companies.
Weetabix brought in a business improvement company to help them improve productivity. This is a huge brand that makes cereal products in the United Kingdom and North America.
Through employee training and engagement, the company was able to increase their output by over 50%, and reduce waste by 80%. They also improved product quality and reduced their energy usage.
They achieved all this through employee training. All personnel were given Rapid Lean Tools training and attended regular impact workshops.
This training helped to improve both the bottom line and the confidence and capabilities of the employees.
Steel company Corus had issues making steel plates, and worked with a business improvement agency to streamline the process.
There are nine steps involved in the production process, and since steel is a relatively inexpensive product the company struggles to differentiate itself on price.
It needed other offerings, such as prompt delivery and the ability to cope with large orders, to grow. Their business improvement focused on reducing waste during each stage.
Waste, in this case, meaning everything from wasted physical product or raw material to over-processing, defects, or even simply moving things around or storing them for too long.
By evaluating each step of the process, the company was able to have less dead time, process less raw materials, and have fewer delays in the manufacturing process, making for a much more rapid, stable, and steady production line.
Conference Board, an independent business membership and research group, surveyed 1,000 businesses from all over the world, and found that the biggest challenges faced by businesses are:
These are all areas that business improvement solutions can help with. Business improvement can be done “on the ground”, through training, through updating processes, and through introducing tools to help with collaboration.
The challenge is ensuring that the ideas that you implement are ones that will actually work within your business. Getting buy-in from employees, at all levels, for business improvement ideas can be tricky.
One humorous example of business improvement gone wrong is that of the mine productivity advisor that was brought on to the reality TV show Gold Rush Alaska to improve productivity at Little Flake Mining.
For the purposes of the show, an advisor was hired who had no experience with mining, and some of the proposed changes that this advisor brought to the table were ill-advised, because of her lack of experience with mining and her lack of knowledge of how the staff and the mine operated.
While this made for fun TV viewing, such disruption would not go down well in the real world.
That’s why at High Velocity we focus on learning as much as possible about the business and how things are done in your company before we start recommending changes.
Our first question to you, and the question we want you to ask yourself, is “why do you do things this way”?
Asking “why?” is an important step towards understanding how a business runs and is also a good way of achieving buy-in from employees.
It is human nature to resist change, but if it can be demonstrated that the new procedures are being brought in for a good reason and that any potential problems have been considered and evaluated, then the change will be easier to implement.
Remember that business improvement is a continuous effort. It is not a one-step process that can be performed every few years and then forgotten about.
The best models rely on five-year plans, or longer, with change being made on an iterative basis. If a change does not bring about the results that were desired, then it should be re-evaluated.
If a change is successful, the whole pipeline can be re-evaluated to see if there are other bottlenecks. The goal is for continuous growth, and that means consistently revisiting the changes you have made.
At High Velocity Business Improvement Coaching, we are able to help you improve a vast number of areas across your business through our coaching programs.
We can coach your business to understand your problems, the size of the problems and how to solve the true root cause of these problems.
Please contact us today to book a free consultation or for more information.