12 Days of PEXmas, Day 6: What drives your process efforts?

Getting executives to agree that process excellence is the way to achieve corporate strategy, though, is not an easy task. Monsanto’s Usher explains that for the "hard" benefits of process improvement. "You start to look at different benefits related to quality and growth and they’re very hard to quantify because they’re spread across initiatives in so many ways."

That leaves process improvement pigeon-holed into delivering cost savings or efficiency gains rather than as an enabler of corporate strategy. As Usher points out, "that creates problems in itself because people in the Process improvement department become feared by the organization.

The perception is that they’re all about eliminating FTEs [Full Time Equivalents]."

Indeed, cost savings and efficiency consistently come out the top of the list when process professionals are asked about the three primary objectives for their process improvement. Chart X, below, shows how these key objectives have remained remarkably consistent over the past 3 years. But is a drive to improve costs and efficiency perhaps too narrow a focus?

Mike Ensby from Bioclinica observes that "the true facilitation of a process excellence person is being able to take the high level ‘here’s where we’re going’ systems approach that senior leaders take – and translate that into what somebody needs do everyday when they come into work."

Jeremy Tranmer from Rio Tinto Minerals takes it one step further and says that process practitioners need to take a wider, more strategic and systematic view of how their work fits into corporate strategy.

"Instead of coming from the perspective of ‘we want to do process excellence’ and then trying to link it to strategy, we need to look at the strategy targets and goals first," he says. "Then use whatever tools and techniques to best achieve these goals."

Reduced costs, customer satisfaction, and improved efficiency are the three pillars of process excellence at January’s PEX Week in Orlando. Find out how companies like Microsoft, Rolls-Royce and Verizon can help you ensure your goals and project outcomes are aligned by downloading the agenda below.

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