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Seven Steps to Process Excellence – and the Tools to help you Achieve Them

By Amy Grendus on February 5, 2020

Process excellence is a lofty goal, but many organizations struggle to get a hold of it.  How can you simplify this journey?

According to the PEX Network – there are seven steps to achieving Process Excellence:

  1. Put your customer at the heart of it.
  2. Know what you’re doing.
  3. Change what you’re doing.
  4. Lead your people.
  5. Get someone (or something) else to do it.
  6. Keep on top of the tech.
  7. Be prepared to fail.

Let’s take a look at each of these and examine what tools and tactics can help you to achieve each.

1. Put Your Customer at The Heart of It

Providing value to your customers is key to the sustainability of your business. Amazon is an example of a company that is famously customer-focused, and the results show it works: Amazon prime just hit 150 million subscribers worldwide and reportedly grew 21% in the fourth quarter of 2019.  In fact, their vision/mission statement is “to be earth’s most customer-centric company.”

Depending on your business model and processes there are many ways business process automation can help you serve your customer.  This can include streamlining customer onboarding, ensure compliance with safety regulations, and automating contract management. Each customer touchpoint that can be smoothed to create a more convenient, user friendly experience improves the value provided to customers.

For example, Elantis used a combination of Microsoft Flow and Nintex workflows to automate a Bittrex Exchange’s customer onboarding process.  Onboarding times are now dramatically improved, dropping from over a week to less than 2 days; often all applications are processed in the same day.

In fact, Bittrex reported that the incremental revenue generated from the process improvements is in the millions due to faster onboarding, improved customer experience, increased customer retention, and increased customer engagement.  Prior to the automation, Bittrex had a team of 10-20 individuals dedicated to processing customer onboarding entries at any one time. They now have just 1-3 people running this process end-to-end, saving them over $500,000 annually.

This is just one example of how putting your customer first through automation can help your business succeed.

How can you identify areas to better focus on the customer experience?  This leads into the second step to process excellence.

2. Know What You’re Doing

You can’t know if you are making improvements if you don’t know your starting point.  First you need to understand your current processes and ensure consistency.  Many organizations struggle to keep process documentation up to date and maintain accountability through ownership.  This can be further complicated when there are variations in processes due to differences in products, divisions, branches or geographic locations.  These variations create expectations that are often left to tribal knowledge or individual judgement.

Organizations can benefit from creating a centralized repository of process documentation using tools like Promapp, to create well maintained process maps that are readily available by the users who need them. Simple to understand process maps create consistency and aid in training and succession planning when resources are asked to step into new roles.

Now that you have a baseline to understand how your operations are running, it’s time to start making improvements.

3. Change What You’re Doing

Of course, we all want to transform our processes overnight, but change can be difficult.  To make the change easier, break it down into small, manageable chunks.  Each incremental improvement is one step closer to process excellence.

As you change, be sure to update you process documentation to reflect the new changes. Wherever possible, we recommend documenting not only the process change, but the impact of the process change.

For example, if a change in process saves an employee just 15 minutes on a daily task, you have effectively freed up over a week and half of your employee’s time each year – which can now be used on higher value activities. Promapp offers this cost tracking capability out of the box to making it easy to capture the ROI of continuous improvement.  Tracking of these benefits helps gain momentum and build engagement on your process excellence journey.

4. Lead Your People

It is key to have change champions who continue to drive the journey to process excellence. Clearly communicate the need for change along with the rationale for the improvements that you have planned.  Promapp provides communication mechanisms to solicit and respond to feedback on processes and help create a continuous improvement culture.

Further, it is often difficult for leaders to find time to mentor and coach employees.  Freeing up time though business process automation can help get this time back so leaders can spend time working with employees to understand pain points and assist with career development.

5. Get Someone (or Something) Else to Do It

There has been a lot of buzz in the last few years around automation through configurable workflows and robotic process automation (RPA). These tools perform your repetitive tasks and manual processes, freeing up time for more strategic and creative tasks.  These tools are quickly being democratized through low-code/no-code platforms such as Nintex Workflow and Nintex RPA, or Microsoft Power Automate, which allows even non-technical users to develop enterprise-wide automation.

Another way to address this step is through outsourcing, allowing you to focus on your core business.  Carefully choosing which processes to outsource and which to automate can dramatically boost your company’s process excellence.

Elantis can assist with process mapping, process automation, and optimization through analytics.  We can also assist in identifying processes that are ripe for automation, based on our experience with clients in a wide variety of industries.

6. Keep on Top of Tech

Technology moves quickly, and the speed of change is constantly advancing.  To stay competitive, a company must evaluate which technologies will provide real value towards process excellence and improved customer experience.  Assuming technology is not your core business, it can help to work with vendors as trusted partners who can advise on which technologies can provide the most value to your organization.

7. Be Prepared to Fail

As the PEX network points out, innovation and failure go hand in hand. There are many stories about companies who invest heavily in transformation, but fail to realize real change.  As noted, effective transformation takes committed leadership and effective change management. An experience technology partner can also help buffer you from falling victim to ineffective change efforts.

Ultimately, the process excellence journey needs to be planned carefully, but can bring value to your customers, increase your revenue, and improve your employee experience.

Learn More About Process Excellence in our Interactive Workshop

Would you like to learn more about process excellence?  Join Elantis and Nintex for a free Process Excellence in a Day workshop on February 25th. This interactive workshop will demonstrate how to:

  • Document and maintain your business processes.
  • Use digital forms, mobile apps, workflows, RPA, DocGen, e-signatures, and connectors to quickly automate processes across teams and systems.
  • Optimize through analytics, process intelligence & third-party AI services to monitor, analyze and enhance business processes.

 

Register now to secure your spot!

 

The Author

Amy Grendus - Elantis Marketing and Business Development DirectorAmy Grendus, Director of Marketing and Business Development

Amy is a results-focused marketing professional with over eight years’ experience working closely with sales teams to provide effective solutions to customers.

 

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