Process Design and Improvement


Process Design and Improvements can be done, in house, for the fraction of the cost of hiring a consultancy firm to do the heavy lifting.  Further, by designing and implementing solutions within teams, skills and knowledge are developed and retained, creating a high performance team culture that is the foundation for long term profit optimisation and innovation. This is an essential step for any move towards cost control, automation and artificial intelligence. 

Organisations often take current ways of working for granted. This results in inefficient ways of working that end up as unnecessary hidden costs.  Further, teams are often not given the direction and autonomy to reconsider process flows and be on the hunt for optimisation opportunities.  This process improvement consideration needs to be embedded within your organisation’s culture along with the training and tools to plan, lead, implement and track changes along with their impact and scalability.  This is the formula that theToyota Group has used for decades to drive excellence and efficiency.

Team Engagement in Process Design and Improvement

Generally, a vicious cycle consumes time within organisations - current ways of working are so poorly designed, work takes double or even triple the time that is actually necessary. Further, teams are not directed to, nor feel that they have any time or even creative energy to take a step back and look at process design and improvement opportunities. This entrenches inefficiencies, frustration and disengagement.

Organisations tend to take the following positions (to their detriment):

  1. Pressure is put on teams to work harder and leadership blame staff for poor results.
  2. External consultants are hired to direct how to optimise their processes and re-design work flows for them.

Results of these positions are a demotivated, disengaged and disempowered team who resent the consultants’ recommendations.  Recommendations are often generic and not specific to the needs of the teams nor do they take into consideration how to transition teams across to new processes.  This adds further chaos and inefficiency to the mix. 

The Total Quality Control Process  & Improvement

From the words of Dr. Kaoru Ishikawa, one of the world’s authorities on quality: “...by applying quality control (QC)  properly, the irrational behaviour of industry and society could be corrected. In other words, I felt that the application of QC could accomplish revitalization of industry and effect a thorough revolution in management."

Following Toyota’s model of excellence, consider this approach:

Team members doing the actual work are the experts in what’s happening.  They can tell you where the problems and frustrations lay. Further, they have to take the ultimate responsibility for any new solutions implemented.  Therefore, invest the time to gather your team, map out the current process flows as well as associated problems. Challenge leadership and teams to think and solve the problems for themselves. Brainstorm options for process design and improvement. Leadership can then direct the improvement strategy and track progress.  The momentum and empowerment that this approach unleashes cannot be overstated.

This is a much more effective method than hiring an external consultant to map out their version of the solution and package it up for you.  Unless you are part of creating the solution, you do not feel ownership of it. Hiring an external consultant can often have a detrimental effect on team engagement and execution.

Process Improvement Training

A more successful and cost effective alternative is to consider Process Improvement Training for your leadership and teams.  Empower them with the skills to drive the necessary improvements and lay the foundations for innovation.  

Toyota’s methodology is a combination of Lean and Design Thinking - embedded organisation wide. Every team member is trained and skilled in process improvement.  Teams are given the tools to implement, track and scale solutions and innovations. Leaders are empowered and trained to ensure viability of solutions and smooth flow of operations.

For more information on how we can support the Process Design And Improvement process within your teams, please contact us.


Return from Process Design and Improvement to Process Improvement Japan and Australia.