So let’s get started…
FAQ 2: What are the different types of business process improvement / business process re-engineering campaigns?
Breakthrough Improvement is a methodology that incorporates vital improvements to the main areas of the business. It is a quicker and more intense method of improvement. It is common for breakthrough improvements to be conducted by a few employees whose purpose is to come up with a new method of problem-solving. It is common for long-lasting and continuous problems to be solved through Breakthrough improvement technique by dedicating time and effort into coming up with a solution for a designated time. Breakthrough improvement has large and obvious advances, but the results can also be extremely varied. A popular example of Breakthrough improvement is Six Sigma methodology.
Streamlined Improvement refers to the improvement of a process by reducing and shortening the number of steps in a process in order to lower its intricacy. It is beneficial since it helps cut back on costs, uses time more effectively and efficiently, as well as improves supervisory observance. A popular example of Streamlined improvement methodology is 5S.
Continuous Improvement focuses on undergoing constant improvements that take place over time. These increments allow for less disruption to the organization and allow individuals to perform necessary tasks on the agenda in steady and continual stages. Many organizations find that, performing small continual improvements has a profound effect in the long run. A popular example of Continuous improvement methodology is Lean.
Out of the three types of business process improvement, Continuous improvement is often preferred, since the small changes end up adding more 'value' than that of a Breakthrough improvement.
My recommendation is that organizations must invest time in Continuous-Breakthrough improvements (for example Lean Six Sigma) in order to truly excel. Continuous as well as Breakthrough improvement can have a better chance of working properly if-
- Both data and facts are used.
- Employees are involved and encouraged to find solutions.
- Methods are established and duly implemented.
Both Breakthrough and Continuous improvement methods use PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) sequence for successfully running the process improvement campaigns.
Organizations can benefit from using both Continuous and Breakthrough improvement methods. The use of either improvement method depends on the circumstances and the desired outcome.
Another possibility is for organizations to perform a series of Breakthrough improvements that allow employees, to progressively make continual improvements in their everyday work life. Organizations that choose to implement this method often reach more desirable results than those that choose either Continuous or Breakthrough improvement.
Another important business improvement technique is Kaizen.
Kaizen is a Japanese technique of improvement. Translated, Kaizen means 'make better'.
Note that, contrary to popular belief, Kaizen is not a type of Continuous improvement technique. Rather, Kaizen creates a culture of continuous improvement. Therefore, if you wish to initiate and sustain continuous improvement at your workplace, then start with Kaizen.
Kaizen is a business process improvement methodology in itself. Kaizen is also an effective change management technique. Therefore, if a company practices Kaizen alone (and doesn't go-in for any Breakthrough, Streamlined or Continuous improvement campaign), yet it will achieve efficient and effective workflows.
In fact, I would suggest that if a company doesn't wish to go for any formal process improvement technique due to whatever constraints, be it- limited resources, less number of employees, regulations etc., then go for Kaizen.
Tip: As it requires minimal cost for implementation (while giving phenomenal returns), Kaizen is especially beneficial for startups.
Moreover, Kaizen can be practiced both by individuals as well as corporates.
Further, Kaizen can be implemented in all types of organizations viz. manufacturing, services, educational institutes, government offices, non-profit associations etc. Kaizen implementation exhibits fastest returns in both big and small organizations (regardless of organization's culture or industry sector).
There are nine types of Kaizen. You can check more about Kaizen here.
Tip: Coupling Kaizen along with Continuous improvement technique such as Lean, augments rewards exponentially.
I shall discuss more FAQs concerning effective & efficient business process improvement in upcoming parts of this blog post series. If you have any such questions about business process design or continuous improvement, please feel free to drop it in the comment section below.
By the way, if you run a company that is facing a challenge to thrive in these difficult times, I would suggest that you please revisit your business processes in order to accelerate growth and bring a quick turnaround.
Note that there are over 18 different time-tested process improvement techniques. And one does need to wisely choose when, which and how to apply each of these improvement methodologies to their business.
#businessprocessimprovement #businessprocessmodification #businessprocessreengineering #PDCAcycle #kaizen #processimprovement #breakthroughimprovement #streamlinedprocessimprovement #continuousimprovement #kaizenforstartups