The Role Of Process Visibility In Continuous Improvement
As the most important goal in any organisation, striving to achieve continuous improvement should be at the forefront of all management processes, regardless of the size of the organisation or the nature of work produced. Effective processes are required to achieve this goal, and also assist in quality management. Processes should not only be developed and implemented, but they should also be visible in order to achieve optimal results. In this regard, process visibility plays a vital role in every improvement strategy within the organisation.
Many managers make the assumption that the design and application of an improvement process is enough to enable a better level of quality in all areas of the organisation. In order to make sure that these processes are followed efficiently however, processes need to be visible to all levels of staff and management, as each staff member’s role to implement processes is required for effectiveness.
Factors that are needed to ensure process visibility include the following:
- Documentation – document control is by far the most efficient and straight-forward way to document and distribute all processes within the company. Whether it is a formal process manual or a basic list of tasks that are to be carried out, documentation is essential to keep all relevant persons informed. Process documentation can then be shared amongst all staff and key decision makers who will be involved in applying the processes. This documentation is also kept on record, which allows the document to be updated as changes are made. In this way, there is a greater level of transparency in providing document proof, which will nurture continuous improvement by warranting an established protocol throughout the company.
- Diagrams – these give a clear visual representation of each step within the process, showing the process at work as well as each step that is required to be implemented by relevant staff members and decision makers. Including visual representations within the process documentation also ensures that process steps can be made simpler and more legible to all relevant staff members and managers.
- Sharing – emailing a process manual to relevant people who are involved with the process implementation is not always sufficient to enable comprehension at all levels. A far more efficient method of safeguarding complete visibility and comprehension of processes is through training, one-on-one teaching and with the help of tools that make the process more accessible and clearer for staff to read the processes and completely understand each step.
Efficient processes form a vital aspect of any improvement operation, and in this regard, every company should have a method that allows processes to be accessed simply. These processes can then be understood and applied, which goes a long way in ensuring continuous improvement within the workplace across all systems.