Why Everyone Should Understand Process Improvement

Sometimes the biggest roadblocks to process improvement are people and their attitudes. Likewise, sometimes the biggest sources of waste, especially in office environments, are not processes, but people and their expectations and demands and decisions.

Mnet 132695 Alan Nicol Lead

Have you ever been directed to misuse process improvement methods? Perhaps you were directed to participate in a “Lean Event” to figure out how to shunt more work to excess resources. Maybe you were told to drop everything to “5S” the building because some VIP was paying a visit. Have you been told you need to participate in a Six Sigma project in order to meet a quota of process improvement activity?

Making best use of resources is good, but figuring out how isn’t necessarily a Lean Event. Five-S is a good practice, but declaring an emergency just to clean up appearances for a visitor completely misses the intent. Quotas of activity do not necessarily beget improved performance.

Let’s face it. Sometimes the biggest roadblocks to process improvement are people and their attitudes. Likewise, as much as we politely don’t discuss it, sometimes the biggest sources of waste, especially in office environments, are not processes, but people and their expectations and demands and decisions.

Do you re-format engineering or quality data into a pretty dashboard for the management team? Wouldn’t it be more efficient for the management team to learn to read well-formatted data in its original report or database? 

There is an unfortunate and dangerous phenomenon that is common in many industries. Only some of the organization is trained in a process improvement methodology. Similarly, some members of the organization are given a severely truncated version of the education.

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