You can have great products and great people in your organization, but without great processes, you may be missing opportunities and squandering resources. Process excellence doesn’t just happen, though, it requires intentional focus on evaluating and building processes throughout the organization; across the supply chain.
How we get things done in our organizations warrants the same level of attention as developing and marketing products and services. We wish that developing methods and procedures was a “one and done” endeavor, but nothing could be further from the truth.
I’ve been working on an operational audit for a global financial services company that has been around for four decades. The pace is fast, change is constant, and competition is fierce. In this environment, procedures and processes must be agile—there must be a constant review of how things are done, why they’re done, and who is doing them.
An Operational Effectiveness Review, whether conducted by internal or external resources, should be a regularly scheduled event in every organization. Trained experts in process improvement and organizational effectiveness can provide insight into the best way to perform a task, technology that can provide automation (and reduce human error), and organizational design that will ensure information and work flow smoothly up and down the supply chain.
The outcomes of an OER will vary depending on several factors, such as how well processes are currently documented; how many tasks are performed within each function, and what technologies are currently in use. There are, however, some outcomes that are common no matter the size or scope of the effort in your organization:
- A short list of process improvements that can be implemented quickly and easily (low hanging fruit).
- Significant cost-saving (or revenue-generating) improvements that may take longer to implement or require a budgetary commitment.
- Long-term solutions, such as implementing new technology to streamline a process, or adding a position to eliminate a bottle-neck to a process.
One of the greatest aspects of an Operational Effectiveness Review is that subject matter experts—those employees who do the job day-in and day-out—already have ideas for improvements. The OER resources help build on those ideas and provide the expertise to implement them well.
Process excellence leads to better efficiency and effectiveness, key ingredients to overall organizational success. And an OER ensures excellent processes and addresses the need to evolve the way things are done within your company as internal and external circumstances change and new technologies are made available.