I’ve had several conversations lately about the need to streamline and simplify processes. This is particularly relevant with all the focus on cost cutting and finding savings. Though it’s always important not to cut TOO many corners – it’ll always come back to bite you – finding the balance is key.
Many organisations have a Quality Management System, Policies/Procedures, Business System, Operations Manual etc etc that they originally developed. The need for “systems” has been known for a very long time – popularised by ISO9001, E-Myth, and others – which provided the impetus for documenting the way things are done.
The difficulty comes when the processes are updated over time but without clear direction of what they are supposed to do. Processes are updated, new processes are added, but existing processes are generally not removed.
Just like a PC with more and more apps installed, organisations are reluctant to remove or retire processes “just in case”. But in doing so the QMS/P&P becomes more complex and hence more difficult to use. Often staff will have to work around or outside “the system” just to get things done.
This is a good sign things need to be streamlined.
But what can we do?
- Allocate someone to perform an initial review to understand what is good for the business and helps staff
- Prioritise by reviewing problems and issues that staff currently have “top of mind”, And Align these with what the business needs and where it is heading.
- Form a tigerteam to identify and then plug the leak of where the system is failing -> where staff are currently operating outside the system to get their job done.
- Identify seldom-used processes, template and forms and more them into a quarantine area. If they are required more than once every six months move them back to the main process area/repository
- Amalgamate process steps and then processes themselves to simplify and reduce the number of required activities to the bare minimum
You can find more details on symptoms and streamlining activities on a presentation we have here.