We’ve all heard, and may have been involved, in widely recognised process improvement techniques; Lean, Six Sigma, Kaizen etc. But how to choose a technique? I think this question, unless a particular technique is recognized within your sector, is often asked too quickly.

Many techniques may help your cause but allow yourself time to consider one thing above all; have you got organisational commitment? The value that you can attain from a process improvement technique is very often dictated by the commitment you give to it. So, commitment is the key; commitment from leadership who sponsor the initiative through to conclusion, commitment from the project leaders who employ the techniques and commitment from the process managers – wanting to find a better way.

Given commitment from the stakeholders, a good starting point is to view your processes from a PDCA perspective. Plan, Do, Check, Act underpins the search for process improvement in whatever context or sector you operate. It is also this cycle that structures auditing processes and will help you identify and realise  opportunities for process improvement.

By using PDCA, your processes will be critically reviewed on an ongoing basis and any further appropriate tools and techniques for improvement will become clear.

Organisations carrying ISO certification will be very familiar with the PDCA cycle; QHSE managers, Lead and Internal Auditors live and breathe it daily. But the value of process improvement can be enjoyed by un-certified organisations in just the same manner. Becoming a qualified Auditor will coach you in employing these process improvement techniques and realise the benefits within your organisation.

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