When Should An Organization Consider a Process Redesign?

Posted by on Jul 15, 2011 in Continuous Improvement, Design for Lean Six Sigma | 0 comments

Some processes are like an old car, you can fix this or that problem and keep the thing on the road, but eventually you realize that you’d be better off getting another car.  In the case of business improvement, you don’t get a new car, you create or design a new process.
Some issues that might lead you to this conclusion are:
  • The gap between customer requirements and current performance is so wide that fix it solutions just don’t work.
  • The number of causes that drag the process down is so large that it’s best to replace it with a new one.

Here are some questions the organization should ask itself before starting to redesign a process:
  • Are senior managers committed?  The redesign process requires a lot of hard work and resources to make it happen and be successful.  You need to make sure everyone is committed to making the new process succeed.
  • Do you have the necessary people and resources available?  Don’t underestimate the time and people required to get it right.
  • Is the organization willing to have a long lead-time for completion of the new design?  A redesign, unlike a kaizen or DMAIC project, may take as much as 6 months to a year to complete.
  • Is the organization willing to accept the risk of redesign?  Many organization initiatives fail and a process redesign is one that has a high rate of failure.  The team leader must be someone that has good project management skills and has lead successful projects in the past.

None of the above should discourage a team from designing a new process, but should be food for thought and discussion before proceeding.  The organization should have a vision for what they want to accomplish.  A vision is an important element and provides a guide for which new ideas can evaluated.

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