Good Process Management — a key to enhancing competitiveness

Image courtesy : Google images

Today at Smart Talent, we are a happy team. We had just completed yet another Balanced Score card design project.

I was recollecting the whole experience of arriving at key parameters, the lead measures, lag measures etc.

While usually the score cards are about outcomes , we had a whole lot of debate on the criticality of having a well designed and implemented process, which would lead to the outcomes, be it sales or marketing or supply chain or product management or any function for that matter, a good process is a differentiator for the business.

A deeper insight into such discussions, I list seven key interlinked reasons — why having a good process is critical for sustainable growth…

My thoughts below : The Seven ‘C’s

  • Changing Customer dynamics: Customers’ needs and wants evolve, resulting in new business models, new technology and new ways of fulfilment. This needs solid process to pull things together and sustain. A robust process helps deliver higher standards and a higher level of ‘Customer Experience’ irrespective of who’s behind the scenes.
  • Complexity of business operations: Changing customer needs induces complexity and complexity needs to be managed in a structured manner through a good process.
  • Confidence levels / Predictability: When operations become complex and more people of varied skills get into the system, the predictability of outcomes cannot be managed without structure and ‘ad-hoc’ ism. It is too stressful to have a complex operations without a structured process.
  • Continuity: What part of the deliverable each person in the system is responsible for? A good process helps better team work and seamless hand-over / take-over of the process steps without impact on the outcomes.
  • Control / Accountability: Complex operations with higher levels of predictability means need for more control and accountability. A good process is a key to identify a ‘job well done’ vs ‘job badly done’ and take corrective actions. Lack of good process usually leads to lack of accountability to change course.
  • Continuous Improvement: A key follow through of a successful or unsuccessful activity that leads to introspection and course correction. Usually continuous improvements become a culture when the basic process is stable and people do not struggle to get the basic work done. Continuous improvement is a resultant of incremental process changes that happen on an ongoing basis that leads to better business outcomes and these are seldom achieved without a robust process mechanism.
  • Clarity and communicability: Simply put, from a people angle, it is very evident through surveys that people are not motivated to do something that does not impact the bigger picture of the organisation. Hence, a key motivator is for the organisation to give clarity and communicate with the people on what is expected out of them and where they can add value. Having a good process, eliminates the need for management time to take care of the routine stuff and enable people to focus on the value adds thereby creating a feeling of doing something meaningful as against ‘fire-fighting’ all the time. This also helps in performance evaluation to differentiate a person who has added higher value vs a person who has just managed to get through the day with difficulty.

Of course, while having a good process is key but right metrics are equally important to ensure the process is working. Will talk more about business metrics in the weeks to come..

In the words of W. Edwards Deming “If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.”

Go ahead.. make ‘Process’ your differentiator and stay competitive !

Stay tuned..

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