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Process Improvement Essay

1479 words - 6 pages

Process Improvement : Prioritization and Scientific Approach

What is a process?

A process is no more than the steps and decisions involved in the way work is accomplished. Everything we do in our lives involves processes and lots of them.
Examples: ( writing a work order, conducting a drill, performing a test )

Who owns processes?

Everyone has a stake in one or more processes. Groups of individuals usually share in—and “own”—the activities which make up a process. But the one individual who is ultimately responsible and accountable for the proper working of the process is known as the “process owner.” The process owner is the immediate supervisor or leader who has control ...view middle of the document...

A team examines all of the factors affecting the process: the materials used in the process, the methods and machines used to transform the materials into a product or service, and the people who perform the work.

How does process improvement benefit the organization?

A standardized process improvement methodology allows us to look at how we perform work. When all of the major players are involved in process improvement, they can collectively focus on eliminating waste—of money, people, materials, time, and opportunities. The ideal outcome is that jobs can be done cheaper, quicker, easier, and—most importantly—safer.

A teamwork approach uses total quality tools and methods that will reinforce teamwork. Using team members’ collective knowledge, experiences, and efforts is a powerful approach to improving processes. Through teamwork, the whole becomes greater than
the sum of its parts.

How does an organization get started on process improvement?

An essential first step in getting started on process improvement is for the senior leader to make it a command priority. The importance of process improvement must be communicated from the top. Leaders need to foster an organizational environment in which a process improvement mentality can thrive and people are using quality-related tools and techniques on a regular basis.

For the organization to reach this state, leaders must ensure that everyone receives the training that will enable them to carry out their process improvement efforts effectively. The TQL training made available within the DON provides background and learning experiences for leaders, quality advisors, TQL coordinators, and supervisors, who can then train teams on a just-in-time basis. In addition, this handbook has been developed to provide teams with a step-by-step approach for their process improvement efforts.

Instilling a process improvement mentality in an organization can be difficult because it requires some different ways of thinking than we are accustomed to in the Navy. Process improvement requires everyone to become a “fire preventer,” rather than a “fire fighter.” The focus is on improving a process over the long term, not just patching up procedures and work routines as problems occur. To get started on process improvement, leaders who have been fighting fires need to set aside the CO2 bottle and start thinking in these terms:

What is in the Basic Process Improvement Model?

The Basic Process Improvement Model has two parts:

* A process simplification segment outlining steps 1 through 7 of the process improvement cycle is placed on the left. Teams begin process improvement activities with these steps. Depending on the stability and capability of the process, the team may continue on to step 8, or go directly to step 14.

* A Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle consisting of steps 8 through 14 flows from the process simplification segment.


Step 1: ...

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