Process Improvement Methodology | Choose The Right One For Your Business

Process Improvement Methodologies That You Need to Adopt Now

Nisha Achuthan

December 19th, 2018 Business Process Improvement  

Increased connectedness has resulted in an alarming rise of the herd mentality. It takes significant clarity to stay on the path that’s right for you versus what everyone is currently swearing by. This is true in businesses as well. Organizations feel pressured to replicate popular case studies rather than find out what’s right for their unique requirements.

No singular business process improvement methodology will suit every business around the world. So taking on generic advice that’s really meant to market the solution provider’s prowess rather than offer you an honest option is a bad idea.

What you really need is to gather available information and take a call keeping in mind what’s right for you.

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Here are some useful process improvement methodologies you can consider before making the decision.

Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a methodology that uses data and statistics to improve process efficiency and reduce variations. It initially began at Motorola, was then adopted by General Electric, and thereafter began to be widely used for manufacturing and business processes. There are two sub-methodologies within Six Sigma–DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control) and DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyse, Design, Verify)–which are used for existing and new processes respectively.

Lean Thinking

Lean thinking involves doing away with any activity that doesn’t bring value to the process. It was started at Toyota and is still a very effective methodology today. It is often used in combination with the Six Sigma method.

The difference between Six Sigma and Lean Thinking is that while Six Sigma eliminates defects for quality assurance, Lean Thinking eliminates all wasteful practices in order to achieve efficiency.

This method includes examining the value stream of a process to differentiate value-added activities (that result in customers paying for the product or service) from non-value added activities (that complete a concept or an order). If something doesn’t add value or form part of policy and regulation, it is considered wasteful. Process engineers map out the steps to deliver a product or service with the help of a value stream map.

Total Quality Management (TQM)

Here, customer satisfaction is the end goal and the yardstick by which success is measured. The US federal government began using this method in the 1980s after which it began gaining widespread attention.

These are the principles that govern the TQM method.

  1. Customers determine the level of quality
  2. All employees work toward common goals
  3. Focus on process thinking
  4. Focus on processes that connect vertical functions
  5. A strategic and systematic approach
  6. Continual process improvement
  7. Data-based decision making
  8. Effective communication with employees
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Kaizen

The Kaizen methodology was initially implemented in Japanese companies after WWII. A Japanese term, Kaizen means ‘to take apart’ and ‘to make good’. This methodology focuses on making small incremental changes that are routinely applied over a sustained period to improve performance. Kaizen attempts to improve productivity and eliminate wasteful activities in processes.

PDCA

PDCA is an acronym for Plan-Do-Check-Act. This methodology is based on the notion of continuous improvement to carry out change. This model is carried out repetitively. It involves coming up with a proposed plan, testing out the plan, measuring its effectiveness, and implementing feedback.

5 Whys

This method was developed and utilized by Toyota as part of problem-solving training. The goal is to conduct a root cause analysis in a problem. As the name suggests, you ask “why” five times until you eventually uncover the actual problem that needs to be fixed. This analysis can be conducted using a fishbone diagram or tabular columns.

Picking the Best Business Process Improvement Methodology

Although there are multiple effective BPM methodologies, the right one should suit your business requirements and resolve any issues you may be facing. It should help enhance process efficiency and minimize errors.

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