Process improvement is that part of process management which drives beneficial change in process performance. In the diagram to the right, process improvement drives changes in results, processes and the goals and measures.
Improvement in results can be accomplished in many ways. One way is by improving the ways by which the results are being measured -
Improvement in the process is about finding better ways of doing things ie doing thing right. Achieving the same results but with less resources in less time. For efficiencies to be found, one has to examine the sequence and interaction of tasks within a process particularly the number of interfaces. Processes can be made more efficiency by reducing the number of transactions, the number of different people involved. Automation may improve efficiency but may also introduce a level of complexity that is prone to failure.
Even when the process delivers results that meet targets and is run lean, there is still room for improvement -
Testing whether the right goals are being aimed for requires constant vigilance, asking not whether we are doing things right but whether we are doing the right things to satisfy our stakeholders -
More on process improvement can be found in Parts,10 of the ISO 9000 Quality Systems Handbook 7E
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A flexible approach to business improvement