What makes a good process? When a process operates, how do you determine whether it is successful or not? Processes seem simple, yet seem to cause so many problems and the very word 'process' can strike fear into the hearts of many people.
If you are leading any type of process improvement program, you have probably felt at times like your efforts were yielding less-than-expected results. It is no wonder: the list of possible hurdles to overcome – restrictive organizational structure, politics, stagnant organizational culture, power trips – goes on and on.
Continuous Improvement is the on-going effort to improve products, services and processes by making ...view middle of the document...
c. Effectiveness – doing things as well as possible, making sure that the end result is a close match to what the customer actually wants.
Excessive economy can cause problems in production/delivery, as components fail more frequently, thus reducing efficiency. Or producing a product that is just too low quality for what customers want. Too much focus on efficiency can leave a company paying over the odds for the best parts or services. Or removing processes that customers actually value, leaving them less satisfied. And if the attention is exclusively on effectiveness, then costs can quickly get out of control and activities that don’t add real value will creep in.
Economy plus efficiency tends to create a low-cost strategy, where the cost of sale is driven low to allow competition on price alone. Economy plus effectiveness will drive a budget strategy – with customers getting most of what they want at a price that seems very good value. And efficiency plus effectiveness will tend towards a premium strategy, giving the customer a smooth delivery of what they want, but at a price.
You will often hear these three E’s described as a kind of hierarchy, with Effectiveness being at the top of the tree. However, they each have a part to play in building a successful business, and it is the combination of all three that brings the final E … Excellence itself.
2 The importance of the 3 Es
Consider the impact of processes that are not enjoyable on the business results. The most obvious negative impact is that if the work is boring or painful, your people will not be happy, which is the thin end of the wedge that drives straight into the other result areas. Feelings are highly infectious, and if you were an operations management, your people are unhappy, they will spread their misery to your customers, which will, shortly afterwards, ripple on to depress your business results. You will even lose out in social responsibility, as unhappy people will be less inclined to be good citizens (especially on your behalf).
No one E is an island. We can create processes that are Efficient at the expense of Effectiveness and vice versa. Similarly, we can have fun processes that are neither very Effective nor Efficient. The challenge, then, is to find the balance that leads to optimal scores in all of your Results sections. This will be the point of maximum synergy, where Efficiency gains remove the boring parts, giving people a more interesting challenge, where Effectiveness leads to satisfied customers which feeds back to employee satisfaction, and where Enjoyable processes lead to happy people who work sincerely towards improving the other two Es.
If your people are really your greatest assets, then design the pleasure of working for you into your processes. Add challenge, respect, care. And even fun. And you will be rewarded by results that move upwards in all areas.
Using techniques /methods as described below, for example;...