At IT Partners we always strive to identify better ways of working and continuous improvement is important in ensuring we meet our potential as a company. We actively use business process management tools and apply them to our work.
To begin with the team completed a Brainstorming activity to generate ideas and identify ‘pain points’. The team then completed an Affinity Diagram, a type of thematic analysis to organise brainstormed ideas into their natural relationships. This enabled the team to reach an agreement and focus objectively on their top priorities.
Are we improving the right areas?
When teams identify areas for improvement, the most common response is to suggest a solution. This is not always the best way to approach an issue as it often leads to solving the same problem repeatedly. It is better to understand what creates the problem and eliminate the root cause.
To help us achieve this, analysis tools were used to explore cause and effect relationships:
- Process Flowcharts: To document the process “as is” and therefore assess its current condition. This helps team members understand and visualise the current process, explore opportunities for improvement, and simplify complexity.
- The Five Whys: A simple question-answer technique to explore and determine the root cause of an issue.
- Cause and Effect Diagram: To illustrate the relationship between cause and effect which helps to understand potential drivers of the problem.
Defining an action plan
After thorough analysis, our team could clearly identify target areas to be included in the action plan. This incorporated “quick wins” that could be actioned immediately, however, primarily led to more comprehensive solutions and longer-term projects.
Review results and measure improvements
The last step on the improvement journey is to identify metrics and evaluate changes. This is to ensure that we are seeing measurable and meaningful results. It also allows us to further refine the solutions. As we implement improvements, we always communicate regularly with staff to support a smooth transition. Once we are happy with the initial results, we will look to embed the changes into everyday business processes.
How can this benefit you?
- Do you feel like you can achieve more with your existing resources?
- Can you see duplication’s, rework, quality issues and lots of waste generated in your existing processes?
- Do you have ideas but are unsure where to start, how to validate them, or are struggling to create an action plan?
If any of these questions resonate with you, business process management and continuous improvement could lead to significant benefits for your company. If you are interested in learning more, send us an email or phone 07 957 2650.