A company’s operations include everything it does to create products and/or services. When operations aren’t efficient, it’s a huge drain on your resources and can put you in a weaker position compared to your competition. Focusing on operational efficiency is of utmost importance because it’s cost-effective and reduces waste while maintaining quality and value. Here are five ways to help your organization improve its operational efficiency.
Regularly Measure Performance
You can’t improve what’s not being measured, so the first thing that an organization must have in place is a good system to track key metrics in any particular activity. The period of time needed for a good base reading will vary across activities, but a few weeks of data should be enough to get a baseline reading. These metrics should be recorded in an easy to understand way, such as in a histogram, so that areas that need improvement are easy to identify and improve on.
Business Process Review
Process reviews don’t come easily. “Why fix what ain’t broken?”, is the all-too-common excuse for not reviewing and improving them. But they’re necessary and critical. They require everyone’s involvement, and for that to happen, top management needs to be committed, employees need to feel empowered, and there needs to be strategic direction and an end goal. During these reviews, it’s important to list and understand the roles of the personnel involved, the steps that need to happen to move forward, the handoff points, and any exceptions taken. It doesn’t have to be perfect but it has to be an accurate picture of the process to identify costly steps, roadblocks, and threats to quality.
As if it needs to be said, training not only checks off auditor expectations but ensures that your employees are constantly familiarized with the correct way to do things. Chalk it up to muscle memory, but doing things the correct way ensures that things get done smoother, safely, and oftentimes in a quicker manner. It goes without saying that a proper record of all training activities must be kept and feedback from personnel should be welcome.
Standard Operating Procedures
SOPs are important because they maintain operational efficiency in an organization by ensuring uniformity among operations, fostering collaboration between employees, and facilitating compliance with legislation. But in order for an organization to be as efficient as possible, these SOPs need to be revisited from time to time. First of all, are things being done as per the SOPs? When was the last time these SOPs were updated? Are they as effective as they once were? This is an opportunity to incorporate new technologies and lessons learned from past projects or process reviews.
Focus on Continuous Improvement
Have you noticed that all of the above suggestions can be summed up by the phrase “continuous improvement”? It’s one thing to connect the dots and slowly come to this realization, but if you really want to install a culture of continuous improvement, the phrase itself needs to be spoken, heard, and seen. Again, just like training creates a sort of muscle memory in your workforce, so does regularly championing continuous improvement and related activities create a culture of continuous improvement. It’s a self-fulfilling outcome that must become part of your company’s values to achieve true operational efficiency.
At Valens Project Consulting, we specialize in helping you achieve and establish a culture of continuous improvement, which guarantees that your operations run as efficiently as possible and continue to do so with time. Reach out for a free consultation and let the new, more efficient version of your company live up to its potential.
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