Process Improvement – Essential to Sustainable Growth

Stagnation is a business killer. To ensure sustainable growth, you must continually assess and refine your processes. If it ain’t broke, make it better! Keeping the same strategies simply because they are familiar, and work reasonably well, really limits the potential for greater success. 

To ensure your organization’s longevity, leaders should make a habit of questioning why processes are done certain ways. Examining and improving productivity is key to maximizing margins while avoiding blanket cost-cutting strategies that could put the company in jeopardy. By constantly asking ‘why’ you can identify and fix costly bottlenecks and inefficiencies. 

Many businesses are usually under intense pressure to reduce costs, often starting with headcount. However, cutting workforce without redesigning processes can be the start of a vicious cycle that only speeds up an organization’s demise. Reducing expenses by laying off employees may reduce overhead initially; however, this leaves remaining staff with more work while eventually jeopardizing quality control.

With a shrinking labor pool, it is important to look to increase efficiency first. Failing to update workflows and processes can cause frustration among employees, leading to low morale – even prompting turnover in an already tight market. To avoid this detrimental cycle it is essential to take the time to reevaluate standards of work; ask questions about why things are done the way they are and identify ways that make operations simpler yet more effective.

Of course, all of this is easier said than done. Re-engineering processes effectively requires specific expertise. Look internally or externally for people that have the Six Sigma or Lean Manufacturing experience that is needed to map out every nook and cranny of an organization, uncovering areas where improvement can be made – from streamlining existing operations to identifying tasks which no longer add value. This type of process mapping can be painstaking but it is critical to the improvement process. It is hard to identify improvement opportunities until the team has a clear view and consensus of how things are currently done.

Investing in process improvement is essential for any business striving to create an environment conducive to growth. You can easily reap the rewards of these improvements through several different options – from outsourcing consultants who specialize in mapping and streamlining processes, hiring staff dedicated for this purpose or tasking existing employees with managing and optimizing operations. No matter which strategy you choose there are no risks associated with pursuing progressive solutions that will help your organization succeed!

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