Most of us have heard the adage that says perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. Inefficiency in the workplace is a hassle – a hassle often caused by the lack of process improvement.
Simplicity is something every modern business is trying to attain, but streamlining a process, while not an exact science, is never something you should throw yourself into blindly. Trying to tackle a problem without a plan is like sprinting into a dark tunnel without a light – you may emerge on the other side, but you’ll inevitably pick up more than a few scrapes and bruises along the way. Having a process improvement plan is the best way to prevent any number of aches and pains.
Planning helps you identify the real problems
It’s one of the most common pitfalls in the business world: something is wrong on the surface and businesses react accordingly but fail to identify the underlying cause of their woes in the first place. At best, failing to analyze the root of the problem will result in ineffective solutions. At worst, it can be catastrophic.
The first step of any good process improvement plan should be the identification and analysis of a problem. Once you know what you’re dealing with you can get down to brass tacks and make effective improvements.
Process improvement plans offer flexibility
The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
Unfortunately, this is an argument against making detailed plans in the first place. The notion that process improvement plans are ineffective because something might go wrong and derail them is a tragic one in light of the fact that detailed, multi-step plans actually offer extreme flexibility without the uncertainty of just winging it.
A process improvement plan puts you in a position to react quickly and intelligently when something goes wrong without abandoning the overall plan.
There’s no problem too big or small for a plan
Okay, you probably don’t need to draw out a multi-step plan for everything. When it comes to the most significant issues, however, it’s worth sitting down and drawing up actual solutions. Maybe you’re losing business because employees aren’t sure where to redirect certain phone calls; maybe your business is looking at database management from the wrong perspective and losing out on an entirely new market that could change the trajectory of the company.
Whether your plan is as simple as communicating new procedures to half a dozen employees or as complex as overhauling your IT philosophy, drawing out a plan to test, implement, and monitor new processes is essential. It’s an instruction manual, a backup plan, and peace of mind rolled into one neat package.
Process improvement plans are the ultimate win-win for businesses seeking structural improvement in their organization; they maximize rewards and minimize losses all while providing contingency plans and building a template for dealing with future problems. Plan ahead – it’s the key to smart simplification as well as a habit of the most successful businesses and individuals.