Improving the efficiency and effectiveness is the instruction of leaders and subject matter experts at all levels of an organization, but without a systematic approach to streamlining operations, missed opportunities will result. Adhering toISO standards is a proven method for identifying waste and innovating solutions to improve customer satisfaction. The benefits of enhancing the scope of ISO within an organization justifies the investment of time, capital and labor in operational excellence initiatives.
Create a Quality Manual
Process excellence is effective when quality becomes the primary focus of an entire organization as opposed to a single department or group of employees. Senior leadership can detail their quality assurance philosophy in a manual that provides everything from communication strategies to process documentation standards and quality auditing requirements. Having a defined operational excellence strategy will help employees understand their responsibilities related to process improvement.
The manual assists management to get on the same page regarding organizational objectives and how to approach deficiencies. Constancy of purpose and consistency are critical elements for success in operational excellence, because they keep efforts heading in the right direction. If team members are unaware of quality, or if they have only partial exposure, it can create everything from mistrust among employees to lacklustre process improvement.
View Operations Objectively
ISO and operational excellence help managers remove bias from their judgements, allowing for improved critical thinking and real breakthroughs. A systematic approach to process improvement also enhances root cause analysis and short-term, medium and long-term solutions to identified process deficiencies. When an organization approaches improvement from a scientific approach, positive outcomes can occur.
Reduce the Cost of Quality
The cost of inefficient production facilities, poor-quality products and bad service are quantifiable, and each can shrink profit margins to the point of no return. These deficiencies are referred to as the cost of quality. Operational excellence initiatives can reduce inspection and labour costs, rework, scrap and various internal failures of machinery. They can also reduce the amount of customer returns and the failure of products once they’ve been delivered to clients.
Adopting ISO aid organizations to find and eliminate waste such as non-value-added process steps from operations. Simple actions such as creating standard operating instructions, process maps or even having team discussions focused on waste reduction can lead to change. Management must focus on execution when it comes to waste removal, because without the support of management, a missed opportunity may slip by. Waste in all its forms inhibits customer value-added and business value-added processes steps.
According to the American Society for Quality, types of waste include:
Support Subject Matter Experts
Many of the most impressive, quantifiable process improvement ideas come from frontline employees that work on production floors or in customer facing areas. That’s because they interact with materials, processes, systems and even customers daily. If subject matter experts are given process excellence training and understand the nuances of ISO they can identify performance gaps, along with steps to enhance efficiency. This is especially true if groups of employees involved in a process, at different stages, are allowed to work together.
It’s also important to avoid false attribution error and not blame employees for waste or process defects, if business processes are inherently at fault. If employees are afraid to point out waste, then it becomes harder for organizations to improve efficiency. A culture of teamwork can create effective business processes that drive higher quality products and services, along with lower operating costs. Better teamwork can also protect, enhance or create intellectual property (IP).
The power of quality to transform organizations and enhance customer satisfaction, along with sustainable profits, is real. Adopting ISO is a cost-effective, proven method for removing waste from operations and improving employee morale. Through a systematic approach, an organization can hone their competitive edge and outpace the competition.
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