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Continuous Process Improvement

Enhancing the bottom line, improving customer satisfaction and providing quality products are continuous, never-ending objectives in successful organizations. “Continuous Process Improvement” (CPI) is an ongoing effort on the part of management teams and Boards of Directors to discover and eliminate the main cause of problems in reaching the objectives of the business over the long-term. However, like many business challenges, the process management and a Board of Directors take to accomplish these objectives is the key. In fact, according to Rummler & Brache's research, processes account for about 80% of all business problems, while people account for the remaining 20%.

CPI results at MainStream are typically realized utilizing a series of manageable and measurable steps rather than attempting to implement one or two enterprise-wide programs. Our approach is to move at a deliberate pace, be as direct as necessary, but not to blame people for past problems or failures. We simply look at how the work can be undertaken more effectively to reduce expenses, increase revenues, and increase shareholder value. When a CPI program is implemented, our team, working in conjunction with management, seeks to learn what causes things to happen, and then use that knowledge to standardize on best practices, remove activities that don't add value and improve customer and employee satisfaction.

Contact MainStream and let us help you outline a CPI program that is built around your organizational needs.

Selecting an Improvement Opportunity

Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) is a strategic approach for developing methods and indeed a culture for long term improvement. When organized and implemented effectively, it increases quality and productivity, while reducing costs, resource requirements and time spent on wasted activities.

Determining the right place for your organization to start a CPI program is based on what an organization does effectively and where significant points of improvement are required. The reality is that where an organization commences a CPI program is not as important as answering the following questions:

  • Why would we choose to start here?

  • Who will benefit most by improvement in this area?

  • What do we want the future to look like?

Organizations need to start in an area where they have specific and hard data to work from. Direct feedback from the voice of a company's customers is always a great place to initiate a CPI program. Whether the feedback pertains specifically to areas such as pricing, quality or lead times are less critical than beginning where management has solid metrics on costs, resource allocations, and cycle times or scrap rates.

MainStream is available to help you analyze your operations, review your feedback and suggest initial CPI projects within your company.

Assessing Your Current Situation

This assessment phase focuses on collecting the required information to develop a comprehensive understanding of the existing processes. This step needs to be completed before moving on to setting performance goals and improvement recommendations. The result of this is an understanding of an organizations current operational issues and the identification of unproductive and/or redundant processes.

Assessing Your Current Situation has six key activities:

  • Collect data on existing processes for the selected CPI project;

  • Analyze those data points to ensure that correct information on all business processes and their associated sub-processes has been collected;

  • Confirm that the key performance indicators e.g. hot issues that have been identified to initiate the CPI program are still the correct business drivers required for improvement today and over the long-term;

  • Determine the root cause(s) of problems;

  • Determine cause and effect;

  • Assign roles and responsibilities for process improvement.

MainStream's operational improvement team has the hands-on knowledge to help guide your organization through the process of understanding your current situation. We are ready to help you review and analyze the data points required to make good decisions and implement best practices.

Set Goals & Develop Improvement Recommendations

The purpose of this phase is to develop specific performance goals and clearly outline the recommended improvement actions. A number of steps involved in developing the Future State will be used during this process.

Setting Performance Goals & Improvement Recommendations has Fifteen Key Activities:

  • Review and confirm the critical success factors and performance measurement data;

  • Finalize the design of the future state and identify critical milestones;

  • Develop the test plan (Hypotheses and scenario testing);

  • Review and confirm list of potential risks and constraints identified in earlier phases;

  • Review and finalize communication plan. Know what you want to say and who you need to say it to;

  • Develop implementation planning guide;

  • Design a project Dashboard to know where you are in the process;

  • Develop Issue Tracking guide and template;

  • Complete project RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed);

  • Formalize the project team;

  • Develop project team training requirements;

  • Develop project implementation test and roll-out strategy;

  • Update business improvement model and develop project plan (Gant chart, etc.);

  • Finalize project budget leveraging the Business Case;

  • Re-confirm stakeholder buy-in.

Call MainStream today. We will be happy to discuss how our team can help implement a continuous process improvement plan at your company.

Implementing Approved Recommendations

The single largest factor in the failure of most CPI programs is the failure to recognize that the implementation and execution phase must be about meeting stakeholder expectations and making certain the program delivers its intended results over the long-term. It is important to realize that a program of any magnitude must generate incremental benefit that is directly aligned and tied to the initial set of requirements of the program.

There are four critical mainstays to the execution of a successful CPI program:

  • Project Management

  • Change Management

  • Risk Management

  • Performance Management

Call MainStream today. We will help you ensure that your CPI program goals are properly aligned with stakeholder expectations.

Evaluating Your Results & Planning for Continuous Improvement

During the evaluating and planning phase of a company's CPI project, management and ownership need to ensure that any realized benefits from the new or revised processes will be sustained over the long term. This phase ensures that the organization has the required process enablers' i.e. training, technology, to sustain the CPI initiative and improve this and other core business processes, as required by both external and internal customers.

There are 10 key activities to the Continuing Improvement phase

  • Continue benefit reporting and tracking

  • Conduct on-going performance measurement and reporting

  • Institutionalize new roles and responsibilities

  • Identify additional competencies

  • Continue the communication process and provide on-going updates

  • Conduct on-going risk assessment

  • Formalize knowledge transfer and learning process

  • Formalize Lessons Learned process

  • Identify areas that needs further improvement

  • Re-assess customer needs and expectations

Continuous Process Improvement: Projects
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