Every organization and every business enterprises is comprised of processes that they use to conduct the business of their organization. As we stated in Part 1 of this series, organizations like people strive to be the best that they can be. In their way are obstacles which are a natural tendency of processes which slow those processes down. The root causes of these slow downs are the types of wastes we presented for discussion in parts 2-4.
In this final part to the series we turn our direction not to those wastes but strategies that have been used by other organizations to remove the wastes. The final objective is to create a standard of work which will eliminate those wastes and overtime be repeatable within the workforce.
Strategy #1: Redesign the work flow
Take a careful look at your processes. Ensure that as much as possible that everything that your human capital need to complete their assigned tasks are within easy reach. If they require constant access to a fax machine make sure there is one within arms length. If they need access to a particular file make sure it is in a file cabinet next to their desk. After reviewing the waste categories remove any unnecessary steps in the processes.
Strategy #2: Voice of the Customer
The wants and needs of the customer are paramount to the success of the organization. If the organization includes within their processes steps not required by the customer get rid of them. If you have accumulating files which have no bearing on current projects or processes, where ever possible get rid of them. We would suggest that HR go to the sales and marketing team and request that you go with them on sales calls to the customer. Use this opportunity to gain a better understanding of the qualifications the customer wants to find in the employees they deal with. Reduce the number of reports by not sending information through the pipeline except where it is specifically requested by a customer (internal or external).
Strategy #3: Simplify movement through your organization
Seriously look at your organization and reduce movement of information and human capital as much as possible. As we already suggested above, redesign work cells to reduce the required movement by your human capital.
Strategy #4: Learn Your Organization
I hear the comments now, I already know my organization. But I would suggest that you may not truly know what you do and why you do it. Initially process map your organization. Follow up that with a value stream map of the organization. The process map provides a macro view of your organization and its process steps. The value stream map adds every document and every time period between the steps. It can be an eye opener to problems within your organization. The two mapping exercises allow an organization to find ways to reduce the time gaps between process steps. It allows you to limit requests to exactly what the customer says they need.
Strategy #5: Reduce overproduction
Begin by implementing the lean tool and asking the 5 Why questions. Each time you ask the question you get closer to the root of why you do things the way you do. From this eliminate useless data collection and non-value added required steps in those processes.
Strategy #6: Reduce overprocessing
Look at your approval routes. Is it really necessary for the VP of HR to get a job requisition and approve it before the assigned recruiter begins the talent management effort? What if you gave the recruiter the requisition with a copy going to the VP? Move from a system where you continually push candidate information to hiring manager to waiting until they ask for the specific requirements for a specific job need.
Strategy #7: Eliminate the Obstacles in Your processes
Where ever possible automate your process steps. Ensure that every department within your organization adapts the standard of work that the organization has created. If a department thinks they have an idea to improve a process. let them show the entire organization why it is better. Do not let a single department stray from the standard work model.Utilize the DMAIC model from the six-sigma methodology to improve the way you do things.
Strategy #8: Create Skill Benches
Take a page from the playbook of IBM and create skill benches within your organization, When a specific department needs the skills from the bench, the bench assets are sent to the department on a project basis. When the project is complete they return to the skill bench. If there is no new project beginning, then the downtime is used to gain the necessary continuing education to do their jobs better, faster and cheaper.
Strategy #9: Change Your Hiring Metrics
Change your standard of work on hiring from one where the various department managers exercise discretion on manpower needs and adjust resources as needed to one where the organization’s manpower capacity is optimized via priorities, scheduling and monetary resources.
Strategy #10: Utilize maximum materials throughout the organization
Review the creative processes within the organization and make sure you are using all available materials. Ensure that unless absolutely necessary e-mails are not printed and kept for eternity. when you create marketing pieces or reports or forms make sure you use all available material resources.
Our premise throughout this series is that in order for your organization to optimize your processes, you need to identify the obstacles to that optimization. Once you have found the roadblocks remove them. The results are that when you have removed the non-value added activities and you have created the standard of work we will increase the bottom line. The very direct result is that you will lower your organization’s carbon footprint in the sand. You therefore have made your organization more sustainable – socially, environmentally and economically.