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How to Streamline Waste in the Work Place
Improving a company’s operations involves eliminating redundant work tasks, removing repetitive processes and doing away with unnecessary signoffs and approvals. Success means a company is able to improve how work flows from one employee to another and from one department to another. The ultimate goal is to eliminate waste and streamline the company’s operations. While employees benefit from improved efficiencies, it’s the company’s customers that benefit the most from streamlining the company’s operations. In fact, the ultimate goal is to improve how the company handles its customers' requests. Reducing the impact of these aforementioned redundant tasks and processes allows companies to improve how they sell and service their customer base. So what are some of the tools that companies can use to reduce waste, eliminate unnecessary work tasks, streamline their operations and improve how work is performed?
Business Process Mapping: Mapping out a company’s business processes is an essential part of identifying waste and improving operations. Business process mapping involves defining how work moves between departments. It starts by focusing on how a company accepts a customer’s request for quotation and what happens once that customer places a purchase order. The process map outlines how the customer’s order moves within the company, all the while itemizing all the processes involved in accepting, entering and shipping the customer's order. The company must identify internal processes that impact how the company services its customers. Once those processes are identified, the company must then remove them as concerns.
Spaghetti Diagrams: Another essential tool is that of the spaghetti diagram. Simply put, a spaghetti diagram is used by manufacturers to define how raw materials, semi-finished and finished good inventory moves from one production work station to the next. The idea is to analyse how work moves from one chain in the company’s manufacturing process to the next chain in the cycle. Along the way, the company analyses its manufacturing cycle times and looks for ways to reduce cycle times in each work station. If successful, the company will reduce the time it takes to manufacture and ship its finished goods.
Operational Analysis & Review: One of the best tools to streamlining operations is to use cross-functional project teams, ones where team members come from different internal departments and ones who analyse backlogs and redundant work tasks. Having multiple team members allows companies to benefit from different opinions and viewpoints. The goal is to eliminate redundant processes and streamline the company’s internal operations. In this case, it’s a continuous feedback loop, one where the team continually reviews the success or failure of individual initiatives and how they impact the company’s operations. If operations are improved in one department, then the team duplicates those efforts in other departments. Historical records are kept in order to track the team’s progress.
All of these aforementioned tools allow companies to improve their operations and reduce the time it takes to complete work tasks. The idea is to continually raise the bar on performance by itemizing those internal issues that do nothing more than add unnecessary delays. The ultimate goal is to help the company service its customer base by eliminating time consuming work tasks.
Sally writes for a number of companies in the B2B arena, including printer supplier Concorde Copiers , suppliers of photocopiers in Cornwall and managed print services throughout the South West.