The Tenets of Process (Re-)Design
Trindent’s approach to profit improvement is based on solving complex problems, where we drive improvements in three key areas:
- Process, which refers to the way things are done;
- Systems, the tools used to manage a business; and
- Behaviors, the actions taken based on information provided by the System.
This article will focus on processes, which can be classified into a number of varieties: Legacy processes that are colloquially described as “the way things have always been done” and are often highly inefficient; undocumented processes based on institutional knowledge and experience that are highly variable and poorly managed; and finally, well-documented standard processes that can be measured and continuously improved. The first two are what we commonly find in our initial assessment of a client’s operation, the last one is what we’re striving for.
One of the key deliverables of an assessment is a deep analysis of the organization’s end-to-end processes. Working alongside our clients, this exercise uncovers and quantifies constraints and variances. While clients are often aware of these issues, even if anecdotally, it can be difficult for them to fully understood the impact, let alone fix it. As we move from assessment to engagement, there will be dozens of method changes developed and implemented in collaboration with our client’s project team.
This is done using a structured, data-driven approach to process design, one based on three tenets:
- Discrete, actionable changes that address specific pain points in the process;
- Quantification of the impact and benefits based on rigorous analysis;
- Clear implementation plans with timelines and accountable parties.
First and foremost, our solutions are based on discrete, actionable steps. From experience, consolidating process changes only injects confusion into the new process. The additional complexity also makes the approval process more challenging, as the proposed change may infringe on multiple stakeholders. For these reasons, method changes should instead be broken down to specific process steps with a singular focus. This also allows for both rapid implementation and clear requirements when course correcting to any variance in results. Finally, these changes need to be rigidly documented to ensure sustainability and business continuity.
Second, we prioritize implementation based on the P&L impact of proposed changes. This is based on rigorous analysis and deep industry knowledge that allows us to quantify the impact of improvements – historically generating between 300-1500% ROI on project fees. As well, this approach allows us to effectively measure results on a weekly basis – celebrating areas that are performing at or above target and quickly pivoting to address underperforming areas. We also install a framework that allows this process to be continued and carried out elsewhere in the business.
Finally, all of this is done in collaboration with our clients to produce clear implementation plans that include timelines and accountable parties. Following implementation, typically six months after the completion of an engagement, we complete a Sustainability Audit to ensure results have been maintained, or as often the case, improved on!
Process redesign, poorly executed, can actually harm both performance and morale within an organization. This can be attributed to process design efforts that include compounded process changes, solutions that lack quantification, and unclear lines of accountability. Trindent’s approach ensures accountability and buy-in at all levels of an organization, resulting in sustainable P&L improvements.
Contact us today to learn more about how our approach to solving complex problems can benefit your organization.
The author of this article – David Kerry, is a Senior Engagement Manager at Trindent Consulting.