Why improve your processes?

Why improve your processes? That is an excellent question. What is your answer?

I regularly meet with business leaders who believe improving is complicated. They say they do not have the time, or even more astonishing, that they have nothing to improve upon in their company…

Unfortunately, those who share these beliefs are very often those who most need to improve. Either they cannot grasp the concept, or they fear that change could be complicated and costly.

This holds true whether you are in a services company, or in manufacturing and assembly of products.

Do you know that Statistics Canada has determined that 80% to 85% of Canadian business processes are not efficient? Despite what leaders may think.

Multinationals have long understood the benefits of a continuous improvement culture. The international market is so competitive that they have no choice. But why is it that SMEs resist implementing standard process improvement best practices?

For some, it is the reward of playing fire chief; you put out fires all day, so you feel important. However this is a major sign of disorganization and strongly suggests room for improvement.

Staying ahead of the competition by questioning how you do things means putting one’s ego in check, being open-minded, and asking for help from external consultants who see what you may not. This outside perspective is invaluable and increasingly indispensable to the success of SMEs. Together, they can achieve positive results quickly and create value.

But SME leaders need to take the time and assess their processes performance. To those who say they do not have the time, I reply they have time to continue losing thousands or even millions of dollars per year by way of inefficiencies, but no time to save? By partnering with a specialized consultant, the investment is only a few hours a week. You can concentrate on what you do best, while the consultant will do the same.

People tend to associate process improvement with production lines, but all sectors of a company can benefit from a process review, even if they are already very good. The often overlooked areas that follow, offer some of the greatest opportunities for process improvements, for example: human resources, billing and accounts payable, quality control, procurement and supply, supplier management, marketing and production processes, customer service, etc.

Lately I worked with a small business where process improvements lead to annual savings of $ 3 million dollars! And it’s not the final figure. Some will tell me: « how is this possible? $3 million is a lot, it cannot be. » But yes it is possible, by eliminating what has no added value for your customers and by focusing on what adds value.

Improving your business is optimizing your business, saving costs, becoming efficient, reducing overtime, delivering your products faster to your customers, increasing your customers’ satisfaction, augmenting your competitiveness, taking the lead from your competitors or catching up, reducing or augmenting your staff, controlling your expenses, reducing workplace accidents, profiling optimum levels of inventory, improving working capital, etc.

I can go on and list all the benefits that come from a process improvement strategy. The reasons are so numerous.

To survive today’s competitive markets, companies must establish strategies to provide better products faster and cheaper than their competitors.

Why be good when you can be excellent!

So what are you waiting for to take action?

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