Continuous improvement is one of the tenets of process excellence and worthwhile pursuit for any organization. But the key to maintaining momentum on such an initiative is quantifying what’s being improved in a way that matters.
While senior management may support good process management practices, they need to justify the resources it requires, and that means coming up with numbers that validate the exercise.
Some process improvements have obvious benefits. Removing redundant systems and preventing losses from regular process breakdowns are easy wins to measure, and provide great incentives for focusing on capturing and managing processes well.
However, once processes have been mapped and assigned to champions, the value of improvements can become incremental, and the entire program of process excellence can easily be mistaken for bureaucracy rather than a vital business practice.
Let the numbers do the talking
Tracking shifts in the procedure is easier than it seems and can provide hard evidence of the value of continuous improvement at every level. When teams can see a quantifiable difference brought about by their innovative thinking and willingness to make suggestions, it builds momentum and encourages them to look for new ways to refine their processes.
It starts by assigning value to the work being done. For every role, simply assign a salary cost to represent the value of that person’s time. Nintex Promapp takes these figures and calculates a per-hour cost for that role, which can be attributed in any process they participate in.
Now wherever that role appears, the tool can draw on those values to calculate costs.
Time is money
The other half of this calculation is the time the process takes. Within Nintex Promapp, time can be allocated in the Timeframes section of any process. There are two types of timeframes to bear in mind:
- Active time: the amount of time the process participant spends executing their tasks
- Wait time: The total elapsed time of the activity, including processing, batching, and delays. Starts when the activity becomes available and ends when it is handed off to the next participant. Wait time is greater than or equal to active time
These times can be entered as anything from milliseconds for highly automated, machine-based tasks, to weeks, where third-party authorizations or documentation may need to be waited on.
Regardless of the scale, Nintex Promapp takes that period and calculates the value of the time for the assigned role, using the monetary value loaded for them.
This can give users an instant estimate of the typical cost of running that process.
Continuous improvement is key
Alongside the timeframes users also attribute an annual volume, indicating how often the process will be run in any given year. Again, the calculated figures extrapolate to give an annual process cost, providing a simple but clear numerical value for the process.
While these numbers are a good point-in-time indication of the organization’s process costs, they show their real value when users start refining processes through continuous improvement.
As process suggestions are offered, the relevant adjustments to a timeframe can be made in line with the process changes. If a task or step is eliminated, the time cost associated with it is removed. Where steps are made more efficient, the time costs can be adjusted with new estimates.
Improved systems, better training, or more streamlined practices can all justify the reduction in steps and the time spent on them.
As those processes are published, the cycle cost and annual estimates update. The previous values aren’t lost, though. By running a Process Cost Savings Report, system admins can produce a comparison report that shows the difference in value per-cycle, and annually between the previous iteration and the new process version.
Those differences become the rallying cry for process improvement as teams and management can celebrate tangible benefits.
Continuous improvement is vital to a process culture, but in order to maintain critical mass, it needs management support and staff buy-in. Being able to quantify the value of improvements that have come from the shop floor is just one part of that momentum, but an important element that will build enthusiasm at every level of your business.
Interested in learning more about Nintex Promapp and what it can do for you? Click here to start a free trial.