A Process is a series of actions that lead to an outcome. Improvement is the action of enhancing the value or making something better. Combined, Process Improvement is the action of enhancing processes to reach a better outcome. By analyzing the processes an employee must follow, to produce a favorable outcome, businesses can identify bottlenecks and hurdles that may/do arise, develop a plan, and produce a superior product. An organizational process improvement plan should provide a structured, systematic, and continuous plan as to how processes are going to be evaluated and how change is going to be implemented. “Without a structured, continuous approach, it’s difficult to keep momentum moving” (Rachaelle Lynn, 3 Key Concepts of Lean Process Improvement).
There are many different methodologies to systematically approach process improvement such as Six Sigma (data-driven to reduce defects), Lean (minimize waste), Kaizen (continuous change by all), or Total Quality Management (customer satisfaction) to name a few. And with each of those are different tools to use such as process mapping, fish-bone diagram, and five why’s.
No matter the methodology or the tools used the goal is to have a better process, decrease variabilities, increase efficiencies, save time, increase employee and customer satisfaction; and save money and/or increase revenue.
“Practice the philosophy of continuous improvement. Get a little bit better every single day.” – Author unknown