The 8th topic in my series of “Ask the experts – why companies to go through transformation”, focuses on process improvement.
A rigorous reworking of internal processes can make big differences to business fortunes – huge amounts of cost can be driven out by eliminating wasteful processes, whilst at the same time improving customer satisfaction and employee relations.
As companies evolve, existing processes get stale: the market moves and businesses find their existing processes have not kept up with market changes, and many elements of the business become irrelevant or over- complex.
Human beings have a propensity to make things complex, and often businesses find that over time, they will end up with a much wider range of products than is required, or multiple processes that do essentially the same thing, or a multiple of product offerings where a focus on a small number would be better.
Various methodologies have evolved over time to reduce complexity and improve efficiency, such as Lean, Six Sigma and Kaizen. Much of the thought leadership originated from the Japanese approach to more efficient manufacturing. However, large US corporations such as GE, 3M and Honeywell embraced these approaches and embedded them into their business activities.
Now, business transformation programmes to improve operational efficiency are evident in every sector whether it is healthcare, central government, financial services and pharma. It is not, as commonly perceived, just about cutting costs; it is equally about improving customer experience and workforce harmony.
It is also not just about “tinkering at the edges”, but about taking a holistic approach and embedding the ‘lean’ culture into an organisation.
Next topic in the series (coming soon): M&A Strategy.