Often, most people interchange process excellence with operational excellence, probably as an innocent mistake, or they don’t understand the difference between them.
As a business striving for excellence in the IT space, you must clearly understand every aspect of your business and the factors that affect your business growth. While process excellence and operational excellence may have striking similarities, it is advised that you grasp the difference between them.
Operational Excellence Vs Process Excellence
You can think of operational excellence as the aspect of organization leadership that emphasizes the implementation of different principles, skills, and tools intended to help organizations improve key performance metrics.
On the other hand, process excellence hinges on process efficiency and effectiveness. You can think of process excellence as a series of approaches to improve the quality and efficiency of your business output (either products or services).
As an industry leader, you should be familiar with total quality management, six sigma, business process management, lean, and business performance improvement, among other methodologies. The question is, what do they all have in common? They all focus on the business process. More like an activity or series of activities intended to transform your business. You will be correct if you say process excellence means improving your business and providing the most value for customers.
Key factors of process excellence
1. Always Put Your Customers First
The first step in ensuring process excellence is to put your customers first in whatever you are doing. Your primary concern is to add more value to your customer experience by engaging them in discussion/dialogue to find out what they like about your business and address their pain points.
Businesses exist to satisfy customers. Because of customers’ role in “keeping businesses in business,” it’s easy to understand why they are regarded as the most valuable people to a business. You will agree that customers can either make businesses successful or unsuccessful. As such, the famous maxim about customers being king should be your business slogan and watchwords.
Putting customers first helps you to understand their needs. Not doing so will jeopardize the growth and sustainability of your business. Putting your customers first involves giving them special treatment and executing strategies to keep them glued to your business and prevent them from looking elsewhere. Winning customers’ trust makes it easy to interact with you and share lots of information with you, including their pain points, expectations, and how they think you can improve your products or services.
Actionable steps to put your customers first include selecting the target audience (by demography, lifestyle, psychographic or how customers react to your products (usage and attitude), creating a customer persona, and adopting a customer-oriented approach in your business, invest in providing a personalized experience and providing exceptional services.
2. Create a Culture of Process Excellence
Creating a culture of process excellence involves getting all hands in your organization on deck and geared towards improving the business’s performance. As a business owner or leader, your primary concern should hinge on implementing problem-solving techniques and aligning processes and people to achieve excellence in business.
You would have succeeded in creating a culture of excellence if you can change how people work and behave in the workplace. Process excellence extends to getting employees to learn and adapt to new methods of solving problems, enhancing business performance, and aligning workplace culture with your business goals and strategies.
Creating a culture of process excellence offers ample benefits. They include improving teamwork and leadership, boosting productivity through employee empowerment, streamlined and efficient processes, and paving the way for a smooth growth and expansion trajectory.
3. Identify Process Inefficiencies
Running a successful business is for business executives and managers to cultivate a workplace culture that enhances processes and operational performance, empowers employees, and boosts productivity.
While you are at it, you must be proactive in detecting inefficiencies. And as you can imagine, constantly analyzing processes to identify inefficiencies is not a walk in the park. It can be a very complex undertaking. However, if you don’t get on top of your business process’s inefficiencies, it can give your business a nasty blow and probably cause your business to nose-dive.
Having mentioned that, inefficiencies in business process and operations can result in missed deadlines, pressure on staff, disorganized workflow, compliance issues, and dissatisfied customers. The only way out is to implement systems to have a periodic audit of the end-to-end process to spot inefficiencies and execute plans to make the processes efficient.
4. Upskill and Empower People
From putting your customers first to creating a culture of process excellence and identifying inefficiencies in your business processes, the factor to consider while improving process excellence is empowering people— your employees.
Upskilling involves providing employees with advanced skills — it can be in the form of training. Upskilling is vital for making businesses relevant. It comes in handy in bridging the gap between people and the fast-paced technological revolution in workplaces. You can think of upskilling as a means of filling skill gaps in an organization.
While you are at it, you must have it in mind that hiring employees digitally savvy is critical to helping businesses stay competitive in today’s technology-driven business landscape. Other approaches to upskilling and empowering employees include connecting them to mentors, using real-life simulations and case studies, encouraging self-training, and imbibing a learning culture.
Investing in upskilling and empowering employees will help you strengthen your business capabilities and make your journey towards process excellence easier. By empowering your employees and upskilling them, you can conveniently improve productivity, build confident teams, improve business agility (adapt to changes and leverage new technologies), help employees develop soft skills, and groom future managers.
5. Performance Monitoring
Keeping close tabs on your business performance is an excellent way of assessing your operations and process efficiency. It also provides an opportunity to evaluate employees’ performance. Another reason why it’s essential to monitor your performance is to spot mistakes and inefficiencies in your business process and take steps to plug every loophole.
A proactive approach to constantly measure performance is necessary to identify whether the new process is producing the desired results or not. Doing so gives you the timely indication to continue or change the process to avoid breakdowns. Additionally, it will help to move in the right direction to achieve your business goals.
Monitoring business performance also involves assessing employees to determine their level of performance or input. For instance, frequent performance assessments will help employers tell whether an employee is efficient in discharging his/her duties, is working in a safe environment, and keeping to schedule.
If things are not going as they should, the company or business owner can step to correct any faults and provide employees with all they need to work at full capacity. And eventually, turn them into assets for the organization.
The benefits of process excellence
As technology continues to gain more traction and enjoy more relevance in virtually every facet of human endeavor, businesses are in stiff competition and are constantly changing their tactics to beat their competitors. Speaking of beating competitors, one way to go about it is yearning for process excellence. Paying more attention to achieving process excellence offers so many benefits.
- Improved productivity
- Increased employee satisfaction
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Reinforcing agility
- Smooth integration of technology
- Reducing the risk of human error
- Maintaining standards
With all of that, a business can improve work output, deal with inefficiencies, reduce process completion time and prevent waste. Regarding productivity, process excellence can help you boost productivity by integrating technology into your business and ensuring high customer satisfaction.
A recent study by Microsoft showed that at least 90% of consumers would rather take their business elsewhere than work with an organization that uses outdated technology. That means that leveraging technology in your business will help you save time on administrative tasks and focus on building experience with your customers. And hopefully, deliver a personalized customer experience and exceed expectations.
We are rounding off
Because process excellence is an essential aspect of building a profitable business, you must adopt proven business models and principles to bring sustainable growth to fruition.
Popular methodologies that can help improve process excellence include but are not limited to lean manufacturing (which seeks to eliminate wastage during production), six sigma (which is intended to remove defects and improve process capability), and kaizen or continuous improvement (which leverages process excellence to build sustainable growth).
To answer the question “if process excellence matters,” yes! It does. And businesses seeking growth must invest in achieving process excellence.