Transparent Processes: How to Hunt Down Systemic Flaws
If you were to map-out processes for your company, you may recognize what is referred to as a “systemic flaw”, the application of a single corrective measure can reduce or remove multiple process deficiencies.
Dig a little deeper to solve the root cause
A systemic problem is one that is inherent in the overall system, it is not specific to a single process or individual. If you look at your operations, you will find a number of non-revenue generating process sequences in play. They have been implemented to compensate for a systemic issue. In simple terms, it’s the number of Band-Aid fixes all pointing to a single weakness in the system.
Ask your employees!
Listen to your performers (line staff), watch them in action and ask questions like:
- Why are you doing it that way?
- Is this our standard operating procedure?
- How long have you been performing the process this way?
- Once you are clear about the problem ask: Have you reported this to anyone?
Let’s say you apply this observation tool in three unrelated process areas. You discover that in each case the equipment in use has at least one component that is malfunctioning or operating slower than its design. You just discovered two systemic flaws! Your equipment maintenance is unhealthy throughout the company and lucky you… your employees have figured out Band-Aid fixes so that they can get the job done. But, at what cost: slow production, negative effects on quality and accuracy, unwarranted strain on employees and unhappy customers?
The second flaw is communication, why are employees not reporting equipment problems or are they? Maybe no one is listening or taking them seriously. Equipment repairs, and upgrades will have an initial cost, but pay off in the long run. Establishing communication protocols won’t cost much but will have a huge impact.
I have found that Process GAP Analysis exposes systemic flaws and significant hidden costs, “hidden” being the key word here. More often than not, the fixes are not that hard or expensive, but the return is notable improvements to cash flow and profits.
Assured Strategy supports companies improve their operations by cutting waste…check out our new interactive webpage on PROCESS and see an example of eliminating process deficiencies. We can help you assess, map out and improve process in your company too. Click here to learn more.