What exactly is process excellence and how does an organization achieve it? At a high-level, process excellence refers to the efficiency of a process. At a deeper level, the framework helps organizations continually improve their processes and bring them to the highest standard possible.
According to the framework, processes should be designed so that the output has as little variation as possible and produces as little waste as possible. From there on, the processes should be continuously improved to meet Six Sigma and Lean Six Sigma principles. Process excellence provides the standards organizations need to not only improve their processes but also measure the performance of said processes.
How to Start from Zero and Achieve Process Excellence
The next question is, of course, where to begin. The starting point is dependent on the current level of maturity of your organization’s processes and the culture at hand with a respect to resistance to change.
Achieving process excellence from the start should begin with a methodical review and documentation of current processes. There’s no way to improve processes and bring them to standard level without knowing their current level of performance. (In other words, you can’t improve what you don’t understand.)
This undertaking is two-fold. On one side, you’ll need precise, crystal-clear definitions of your customers and their needs, as well as process scopes, purposes and objectives. On the other side, you’ll need methods of measurement for process outcomes so that you can effectively monitor their performance.
As far as change and culture, it’s the leaders who must drive the desire to learn and develop within their organization. The tools and methodologies behind Lean Six Sigma and Six Sigma cannot work without the presence of an adaptive learning environment, an environment where growth and development are prioritized. Leadership should invest time into modeling the standards of process excellence from the start.
Doing so may include the following:
- the development of coaching teams, observations, and audits
- emulating process excellence in leadership and management
- a well-planned introduction of standards and tools before deployment
- aligning process improvements to business objectives
The final example is of the utmost importance. Having common goals that are connected to your business objective creates a complete process and operational transformation. This increases the performance of your organization and ups morale at the same time. Employees will take pride in knowing that they are involved in the completion of key business objections. As an added benefit, it also encourages employees to work together towards a common goal.
Improving Process with Lean Six Sigma Design & Six Sigma Strategies
Now that you have a solid foundation, what’s next? It’s time to introduce your organization to improving processes with Lean Six Sigma design and Six Sigma strategies and methods. The road is long but worthwhile, and it needs to start with a solid foundation.
Lean Six Sigma and Six Sigma provide comprehensive and integrated methods for process and operational excellence. To bring your organization’s processes to the highest standards, sign up for NWCPE’s Six Sigma or Lean certification courses (Fall & Winter 2017/2018 dates are now out!) Each program is designed to equip you with a foundational understanding of each methodology and their principles as well as the tools and techniques required to achieve process excellence.