2014 promises to be a volatile year for mid-market manufacturers, even as some forecasts call for a continued increase in US manufacturing economic activity. For many organizations, the goal for 2014 is business process improvement success.
Despite projections for sustained growth, we speak with many manufacturers faced with uneven customer demand, fluctuating material costs, supplier shortages and many other challenges.
The most competitive manufacturers succeed by continuously improving their operations. A good place to start is with the development of business process improvement initiatives.
Business Process Improvement Success in 2014
The topic of business process improvement success comes up often as the year comes to a close. Looking ahead to 2014, it makes sense for an organization to improve business processes as the foundation for improving the performance and overall bottom line of the business.
A previous blog post looked at the tools available to manage business process improvement projects. And a more recent post looked at pitfalls that can limit BPI project outcomes. Today we consider the importance of establishing a compelling vision for BPI initiatives.
A Vision for Business Process Improvement Success
In our experience, companies heading into business process improvement projects should take the time to identify where they ultimately want to take their company. Why is this important? Because it can be difficult to improve a specific process if there isn’t a clear idea of what the outcome will look like.
We suggest our clients take a step back from a specific BPI initiative, and create a compelling overall vision. As an example, we’ve seen vision statements similar to the following:
- We will satisfy the customer by creating products with compelling value.
- We will improve customer satisfaction by delivering products by the requested date.
- We will create a secure environment for everyone of our employees by growing the business 20%+ annually.
- We will create long term business value by keeping EBIT above 20% of sales.
- We will treat each other with respect by continuing to develop a learning environment.
- We will foster a collaborative and supporting working environment, and put into practice the approach that making a mistake while implementing positive change will always be supported.
Each one of these vision statements is forward looking, specific and defines what the successful outcome will look like.
In the work we do with manufacturers, we find that taking the time to consider a clear vision helps with business process improvement success.
As you look ahead to 2014, does your organization seek to implement process improvement programs to drive business performance?
If so, download Ultra’s white paper entitled A Roadmap for Business Process Improvement.
You’ll see how faster communications, instant access to real-time data and improved visibility are all proven to drive business performance improvement.