Why Process Improvement is Important to the Small Business.

John Walters

John Walters

As a small business owner you may be thinking why should I care about process improvement and for that matter why should I care about processes at all.

The reality is that we all perform many tasks each day without thinking about processes.  However, if you stop to think for a few minutes about the simple things that you do every day: getting ready in the morning, cooking a meal, housekeeping or whatever, you will probably see that you perform the individual tasks slightly differently each time.

I’m hearing you say so what!

First you have to appreciate that there is a fundamental difference between a one-off event, for which process may not be important, and a task that will be performed over and over again.

With respect to the latter it is important it is important to consider the process for a number of reasons:

  1. The task may need to be performed by different people at different times and unless the individual steps are documented, there is every chance that Fred will perform the task differently to Sally, who in turn will do it differently from you.
  2. The outcome may be very different depending on the process variables: time, speed temperature etc. and we know that process variation is often the route cause of inefficiency and waste.

I’m sure you recognize that if you control the process you have the potential to significantly influence the outcome in terms of productivity, cost and quality.

As a small business owner, the likelihood is that you are no stranger to multi-tasking and so you run an even greater risk of process variation compared to the dedicated operative.

As such, it is important that you take the time to define your core processes in terms of Inputs, Conversion and Outputs.

You may be thinking that I’m not in manufacturing and so this does not apply to me.  You are wrong! All businesses have inputs, some form of conversion process and an output.

Once you have defined your key processes in terms of:

  1. The inputs: labor, materials and machinery.
  2. The conversion process parameters: time, speed temperature etc
  3. The Output: products and or services.

And, you are actively gathering statistics on how each step of the process is performing you will then be in a position to start to improve the process.  Remember, you can only improve something that you can measure.

As a small business owner, you may be leaving significant dollars on the table if you fail to adequately define, measure and improve your core business processes.

“121” specializes in process improvement.  We will help you to identify, develop and execute your core business processes.  We will put in place mechanisms to systematically improve your processes and help you to deliver sustainable bottom line improvement to your business.

Don’t delay contact “121” Today.