To bring a business process to life, beyond simply drawing a map, you need to establish internal controls, create tools that increase its efficiency, and develop metrics. These items make the process real to others.
- Internal controls: use these to identify points in the business process where mistakes can occur and explain how to prevent them. Without internal controls, human errors occur. So, spend some time identifying the potential problem spots and outline how you can avoid them.
- Tools: creating tools can help to streamline the process and avoid errors. They also help you when training new employees on how to perform their jobs. You can create tools from everyday applications you have available on your desktop – you do not need expensive software applications. Think about what you can create using standard spreadsheet software for example. Create checklists and other job aids that will help employees do their job.
- Metrics: establishing metrics will show whether the process works as planned. If you want to lose weight, how do you keep track of your progress so that you keep moving toward your goal? You probably weigh yourself at regular intervals and perhaps use an online tracking tool to view your progress. Without frequent measurement, you might easily gain the weight back. The same is true of a business process: without regular measurement, it gets outdated. So, look at what you identified as measurements of success when you began your business process improvement effort, and decide how to measure whether you are achieving your goals. You do not need to track everything you identified all at once, but focus on the key points.
When you think about metrics, consider them from the point of view of effectiveness, efficiency, and adaptability.
- Effectiveness is about quality. Think about metrics that measure whether the process produces the desired results and meet the customer or client needs.
- Efficiency is about productivity. Here you should think about the use of resources and improving the cycle time.
- Adaptability is about flexibility. Consider metrics that determine whether the process remains flexible to changing business needs.
Creating internal controls, tools, and metrics is the seventh step to improving the effectiveness, efficiency, and adaptability of your business.
Copyright 2010 Susan Page