Processes are often overlooked in terms of their value. Every supply chain manager knows you should have them, document them and even follow them, but few understand their power. Here are 5 keys to tapping the power of process:
1. Process review – One of my most successful approaches in my consulting toolkit is process review. It is simply amazing how much can be learned by observing processes in action. Almost every time I review processes, low hanging fruit is uncovered.
2. Questioning – Asking the right questions at the right time is a key to uncovering process potential. It seems so obvious that it is frequently undervalued. Asking the whys associated with processes can yield substantial results.
3. Systems approach – A systems approach to processes is the only way to go. This doesn’t mean to be rigid and inflexible (as many think when bringing this topic up). Instead, it means to think and design your process in a systems-wide manner.
4. Documentation – Of course, don’t overlook documentation. There’s no need to get crazy but core processes should be documented. Make sure folks have the ability to reference documentation for key functions.
5. Simplify – I thought about using process improvement as the key point and decided that simplification is of upmost importance. Simplifying processes can be one of the most challenging pursuits but it’s well worth the effort – and is an improvement to boot.
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