With improvements in place, how do we measure success?

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You could say that success is a destination without GPS. There is no pre-defined itinerary to get there. Or it may even exist, but it is not always the one that will lead us to the place we want. It takes curves and counter-curves through trails that we do not know in order to reach the desired place… and sometimes we do not get there. In fact, the place you find may even be better than what you were looking for.

To complete this path, indicators are needed that allow us to perceive whether we are in (or on) the right direction. That is, to understand whether what we have implemented is working or not.

Admittedly, we may ‘mistrust’ that we are doing something right. Indeed, it is enough to understand whether our processes are being more effective or more efficient. And how to do it? There are several metrics and KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that we can use to measure this and which we will cover in this article. First, however, it is important to dissect the concept of process improvement.

 

What is process improvement?

The term is self-explanatory. After all, process improvement is nothing more than the application of a systematic approach to analysing and reformulating business processes, with the aim of achieving improvements in quality, productivity and/or cost effectiveness.

Depending on the sector in which the company operates, process improvement may vary, given that there are organisations that may seek to improve their clients’ needs and not their own. In other words, they focus on the client and not on you because whatever is best for the client is, at the same time, best for you.

Transversal to all this, however, is the effort that the company needs to allocate, making available to process improvement a generous amount of resources. Without such a commitment, it is likely that the desired changes may not take effect.

 

Metrics to be used

In order to measure the success of the improvement implemented in a particular company, the first step involves the choice of relevant metrics within the specific needs of the organisation.

Is there a need to reduce waste of time and resources? Would it be ideal to act to prevent defects that could result in errors? Is customer or employee satisfaction at a good level? These issues may help in the definition of relevant metrics and it is also necessary to understand whether they are adjusted (or not) to the company’s reality.

It is not enough, however, to just define the metrics. It is also necessary to understand how these will be collected. Is manual or automated the best option? Will data monitoring be done over time or will it seek to ‘freeze’ a particular period? Once these questions have been answered and the data has been collected, it needs to be analysed to identify trends and patterns. This information will later be valuable as it can be used to evaluate the success of the measures implemented.

With this in mind, we can explore the most common metrics for measuring process improvement in your organisation:

 

  • Process Cycle Time – This is the time it takes to complete a given process cycle and can be used to shorten the process time, identify and remove process obstacles, recognise process capability or make the process more manageable (or predictable).

 

  • Process Uptime – This measures the percentage of time in which a process is available to its users. It is a metric that allows us to evaluate the trust that can be placed in a certain process and helps to understand its impact on a company’s revenues.

 

  • Process Capability – This can be defined as the ability of a process to produce results. In fact, it is through this metric that the performance of the most varied processes can be compared, and this comparison can be used to identify improvements.

 

  • Customer satisfaction – Customer feedback is important to understand if your improvements have been properly implemented. In fact, this feedback allows you to understand what their needs and wishes are, allowing you to improve and redesign the process accordingly.

 

What is the best period to notice the implemented improvements?

It is difficult to choose just one period as the improvement of a process depends on several factors, including the very characteristic of the process and the team that is involved in it.

However, it is convenient to have a defined period of time to implement the desired changes in a given organisation. In this sense, it is suggested to include a time period that serves as a guide for the implemented improvements to have their effect.

In order to do so, you can use Asana, which is a useful tool in monitoring results. Contact us to find out more.

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