Constant workflow bottlenecks, wasted resources, lack of ROI, and frustrated employees make it challenging for any organization to reach its business goals.
That’s why it’s important to use a process-improvement methodology to ensure you’re removing obstacles and streamlining workflows to make your processes more efficient, productive, and successful.
One such approach your company can take is called practical process improvement.
Understanding practical process improvement
Practical process improvement (PPI) is a methodology developed by productivity consultant Ed Zunich. It’s a simple approach to process improvement with the key goal of increasing enterprise profit by gaining market leadership.
The core of this methodology, as the name suggests, is using logical simplicity and practical methods to achieve goals, making sure directives are actionable and tactical. Because practical process improvement is such a simple concept, organizations can usually implement it without any external support, unlike other process improvement methods.
To achieve the main objective of profit growth, practical process improvement uses two distinct paths:
- Gaining customer allegiance. This approach aims to gain not just satisfied customers but loyal ones. Practical process improvement focuses on improving price, availability/speed of delivery, and product quality to build customer loyalty over time. As a result, organizations can increase revenue.
- Involving all employees. All employees at every level of the organization need to be part of practical process improvement to reduce costs, decrease response times, and improve product/service quality. Employees’ efforts are aligned with leadership goals, so everyone works together to gain customer allegiance.
Strategic principles of practical process improvement
To reach the goals of practical process improvement, organizations must follow three strategic principles:
- Apply logical simplicity. Not only is this a tactical way of working, but it also provides the company with a competitive advantage. Practical process improvement strategies are easy to understand and implement.
- Use practical methods and tools. A vital component of practical process improvement is that organizations can apply it to day-to-day processes without difficulty.
- Involve everyone. Process improvement isn’t just a task for the leadership or management team. Instead, working toward improving profits and gaining customer allegiance is part of everyone’s job.
8 steps of practical process improvement
Practical process improvement uses the “eight-step method” to help organizations achieve their goals. These steps include
- Set a mission statement. Identify problems, goals, stakeholders, and scope.
- Evaluate the current process. Collect data and history about the specific process that needs improvement.
- Simplify the process. Identify and remove issues and waste within the process.
- Analyze the data. Use the data to review possible causes for problems.
- Find solutions. Determine the answers to problems and identify the people who can help solve them.
- Test solutions. Use the “Plan, Do, Study, Act” method to try out the new process.
- Standardize the solutions. Develop and detail the new process based on the test results.
- Plan for the future. Figure out what still needs to be done and prioritize next steps.
What makes practical process improvement unique?
Why should your organization use practical process improvement over another process improvement methodology like Six Sigma or Lean? Take a look at what makes this methodology unique. If these elements resonate with the needs of your business, then practical process improvement may be a good choice for your company.
- The focus is on profitable growth, not internal metrics like employee team-building or quality-related measures. The method for gaining profits is increasing customer allegiance and reducing waste.
- The entire value chain is optimized, not just specific parts of the process. It’s not only about improving manufacturing or marketing, but the entire end-to-end process.
- Process improvement isn’t relegated to a group of experts or upper management. All employees are involved, and all functions are engaged.
Ready to try practical process improvement in your organization? Be sure to involve all employees within the company and keep your focus on improving profits by gaining customer loyalty.