In a survey recently conducted by Cornerstone Advisors, 58 percent of respondents said they believe half or less of the work happening in their organizations is real work. The rest, the non-work activity, is waste.
Here are three ways to get back to basics and banish the waste.
1. Identify the process and a singular leader
Process design is the key to eliminating waste. The challenge is that the process can span across the organization and even cross organizational boundaries.
According to Cornerstone’s Senior Director Michael Croal, “A first step in changing the way we work is to have one person in charge of the process – the entire process, not just certain tasks within the process.”
To effect the changes necessary to eliminate this waste requires effort and a leader. The key to success is making sure that leader has a thorough understanding of what the process must accomplish.
2. Determine what the results of the process needs to be
Process improvement teams often get caught in the paralysis-by-analysis trap. Some teams spend too much time analyzing and documenting the way the process performs. This leads to a loss of momentum and ineffective process improvement programs.
Instead, try to determine what the result of the process needs to be. Don’t just continue to do things a certain way because they have always been done that way.
Remember what Einstein said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Led by the appointed process leader, an effective business process improvement program will also include:
– A senior executive that believes in and publicly supports the initiative
– Dedicated resources focused on process analysis, process design and change management
– Metrics to identify issues and drive improvements
– A training program
3. Harness the power of technology
As financial institutions begin to redesign their processes, they must realize that these processes have been passed down over years and even changes of leadership. The technology that supports a process may have also changed. It is unlikely that the process has ever been engineered for maximum performance from start to finish, and therefore, leaving expensive technology implementations to be underutilized or incorrectly used.
Technology adds little value if it is not implemented with process performance in mind. It’s also crucial to evaluate the technology being used in the process.