Designing Processes to Sustain the Gain

Written by: David McClaskey, President, Pal's Business Excellence Institute

Shannon, a consulting client of Pal’s Business Excellence Institute, who heads a large and rapidly growing brand, asked a very insightful question during a recent consulting session. We had been talking about designing processes for sustainability. The key challenge, once a desirable change has been created, is to sustain that change by integrating it into the normal way work is done within the organization. In short, to make it a habit to perform the new or revised process according to the correct procedure. The question Shannon asked was, “How can I best design a process for sustainability?”

Here are some of the characteristics of process design that I suggested to make it as easy as possible to sustain the change:

  1. Keep the process as simple as possible
    1. design out as much complexity as possible
    2. get rid of all non-value added activities (waste), steps, or tasks
    3. eliminate any and all unnecessary words in documentation
    4. use as few new words and terms as possible
  2. Make the format as friendly and easy to use as possible
    1. check lists and check sheets are a great way to document a process whenever this is possible
    2. use pictures and drawings when they communicate more effectively than words
  3. Design for effectiveness first and efficiency second
    1. need to design in the detail that will make the process produce extraordinary results
    2. the trick is to design in the needed detail to produce an extraordinary result while keeping the process as simple as possible
  4. Thoroughly pilot the process
    1. Test the process to assure it will work under any and all operating conditions that might occur
    2. assure the process can be performed at 100% to brand standard, one hundred percent of the time by all of the people who will be assigned to carry out the process
  5. Design in self-control
    1. enable the performer of the process to determine if they are accurately performing each step of the process and are getting the desired end result that fully meets all of the process requirements
    2. ensure that if the performer determines that the process step is not being performed exactly to the brand standard or the end result does not meet requirements, that they can make the needed adjustments to perform each step of the process correctly and to only pass on work that fully meets requirements

It is a great source of joy to work with executives, like Shannon, as they design processes within their own organization for 100% execution, one hundred percent of the time. It helps that they have attended Pal’s Business Excellence Institute’s “Achieving World-Class Results” class and “Lean” class (www.palsbei.com ), where they see that all of Pal’s Sudden Service processes are designed for one hundred percent adherence to brand standard. Seeing that it can be done, under normal business operations at Pal’s Sudden Service, inspires executives to go make that same thing happen in their organizations. As Shannon said, “It will be such a great joy to go to any of my operations and see the process done exactly to standard every time!”