Improving productivity and quality in your business typically results in increased customer and employee satisfaction. Using quality management system techniques such as process mapping, benchmarking and cost-benefit analysis, you can achieve regular improvement in all your work-flow processes. Improved productivity results in fewer defects, fewer delays and reduced costs.
Step 1.Analyze your processes: Focus not on the people performing the job but on the tasks they do. Standardize policies and procedures through your company to maximize efficiency. Train all personnel adequately so they can produce high-quality products and take pride in their work.
Step 2.Align your business processes with other companies in your industry: The American Productivity and Quality Center website provides tools, including the Process Classification Framework, to help you improve your company’s business performance.
Step 3.Develop performance measurements: Benchmark your current processes, identify problems, predict future outcomes and measure productivity gains using key performance indicators for your industry. For example, measure quality and productivity in your customer support center by measuring the time it takes to resolve customer issues and the customer satisfaction rate for those support cases.
Step 4.Build quality testing into your processes — not at the end when it is more expensive to fix: Perform testing on an iterative basis. Resolve defective component problems as you encounter them without waiting for the entire testing cycle to complete. Implement automated testing if possible, because it executes without human intervention and results in a pass or fail outcome that is easy to interpret and act upon.
Step 5.Use business strategies such as Six Sigma to improve quality and productivity: Create projects that define a problem, measure the current process, gather relevant data and analyze the data to validate the cause-and-effect relations. Determine the root cause of issues and design interventions to improve or optimize the processes. Control production so that defects get corrected early on before they impact your final product.
Step 6.Value employee, customer, supplier and business partner feedback and input regarding solving product or service problems. Measure quality and productivity gains by increases in customer satisfaction. Use customer feedback to improve current products and influence the design of new ones. Leveraging customer requirements in your process redesign efforts can help you focus your efforts on the most lucrative areas of business in your industry. For example, conduct surveys or focus groups to gather information to resolve top issues with your product or service. Prepare a report summarizing findings, and distribute the report throughout your organization to improve quality and productivity.