The old saying goes-“if it’s not broken, why fix it ”, but the question remains how do we even know we can improve a system or a process if we don’t take the time to thoroughly analyze the situation. If you look hard enough, I’m sure you can find opportunities for improvement-hence the Root Cause Analysis.
Being a part of a large corporation that has been bought and sold over the years, I have witnessed firsthand how centralization of processes has benefits for companies. With any type of “decentralization” brings inconsistencies through-out many areas of an organization. A major initiative I led in my organization was consolidating our suppliers for POS, point of sale materials by leading a RFP, request for proposal. The problem we had to solve was with so many suppliers being utilized by our sales field to print point of sale materials, there were inconsistent brand messages, various pricing models and materials being used. (Step #1-Process Identification) It was essential to analyze all of the data- from the users, suppliers, spend type of orders to the materials being used to create one standardized process (Step #2-Information Gathering). With this particular project, we are able to save $500K per year, have a greater visibility of users and control of spend. (Step#3-Process Mapping and Step#4-Analysis)
In addition, we created an on-line ordering website for the field to use, creating a one stop shop for all POS materials, which created a user experience for those involved. (Step#5-Developing New Methods) By investing in technology, our organization was able to provide a new skill set for our associates, as well as create a customer experience. When developing the on-line ordering site for our associates, the user experience was our #1 priority. The site needed to follow the four independent elements of user experience-branding, usability, content and functionality as well as Don Norman’s principles for design.
Benefits of centralization of processes can include brand consistently, reporting capabilities which provided the organization better measurement tools and cost saving opportunities. (Step#6-Manage Processes) We as an organization now have a better understanding of orders, users and most importantly spend.
The below Root Cause Analysis diagram (RCA) outlines the conditions that contributed to the issues within the POS category.
Do you feel as though there are opportunities for process improvements within your organization that are being overlook due to time or budget? If so, how does this make you feel knowing it can make someone’s job easier on a daily basis?