Process Improvement and the NOW Management System®

Micro-Level Process Improvement to Drive Out Waste

Many organizations use process improvement to save money, better leverage resources, and improve the customer experience. Process improvement is designed to drive out waste.

Waste is generated from activities that do not add value to the customer. Research shows that in most manufacturing organizations 25-30% of activities are waste, in most service organizations it is 30-40% and in government it is estimated to be at least 40-50%. Unfortunately, these numbers have not declined even in the wake of the many different management techniques that have come along in the past 30 years.

There are three primary reasons that process improvement efforts do not live up to expectations and do not achieve the intended outcomes:

1. Process improvement projects are randomly selected and are not focused on the highest-leverage processes in need of improvement (the primary reason)
2. Employees and managers lack the ability to conduct process improvement projects that permanently drive out waste
3. Employees and managers lack shared process improvement tools, methods and language

Fortunately, these issues can be mitigated by installing the NOW Management System® and then realizing the full promise of process improvement.

Macro-Level Process Improvement for Management

Ironically, few processes display more variation and waste than the “management” process. Our experience has proven that if an organization conducts macro-level process improvement for the “mother of all processes”—actually managing the enterprise—then micro-level process improvement is significantly more powerful.

The chief indicators of management variation are employee confusion and waste. We have identified the “7 Deadly Sins of Management” as the source of tremendous management variation, which prevent the “NOW” response that customers expect:

1. Lack of clear direction
2. No line of sight connection
3. Unclear expectations and accountability
4. Inconsistent language
5. Poor issue transparency
6. Insufficient resources
7. Inadequate tools/skills

Organizations that utilize traditional management methods are out of step with our modern economy, employees’ mindset, and customer expectations. Process improvement is at its strongest when driven by the NOW Management System®.