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HOW WE CAN HELP - Process Management Talk To : SJ Roy / Smita Acharya
 
 
A few years back leaders felt that Processes evolved by themselves and didn’t really need to be created or designed. Then came ISO and leaders felt that they need to be just documented. In a low growth, low competition environment with low technology penetration those were not inappropriate views.

Today in an interconnected world, increasing scale of operations, IT enablement, margin pressure, customer awareness and competitive pressures many business leaders have come around to realizing the need for creating or improving processes.
 
Process Design
Who did it:
Earlier, Founder employees with knowledge from other companies
Then, Consultants with an MBA degree from a mid or top level firm
Now IT ERP Consultants too weigh in
 
When :
Obviously at the start, when the only thing you want to do is grow and not bother about what will go wrong
 
Process Improvement
Who did it:
Earlier, the educated second generation or a new hire
Then consulting firms, QA firms, 6 Sigma, ISO practitioners, BPR firms, IT Auditors manned by MBA’s, Engineers, Accountants
 
When :
  Typically when things are not going right due or due to change in environment
  Responding to complexity due to organic or inorganic growth
 
Process Audit
Who did it:
The Accountant or an Inspector
Mostly them with some MBA’s and IT Auditors
 
When :
End-of-the-year evolved to half yearly to quarterly and now moving to real time or continuous audit.
 
 
A different set of people with different aspirations and mindsets did these jobs making what should have been a seamless process into divergent silos.
 
Process design and improvement was for growth while risk management was an afterthought, a response to a disaster or a check in the box.
 
 
Process Design
 
In mature companies quite often Process design follows Process audit because business leaders need to establish it to themselves and their teams that there is need to design new processes which is helped by the Process deficiencies found in the Audit or Diagnostic. In other cases expansion or new divisions require processes to be designed from the start.

We helped a Middle East based company in making a complete costing model based on Excel for its cargo business. The test of a model is the length of its usage. The model was used by the client for three years after which it was scrapped when the new ERP system came in place. We bring quick solutions to companies that want to diversify or expand in a systematic and process driven way. We rely heavily on IT enablement, staff buy in and sticking to tried and tested processes.
 
Operational Improvement
 
Functional excellence, efficient processes and good resources can be optimized on a long term basis. Our suite of Diagnostic tools is our way of quickly figuring out using data and perceptions whether there is scope for Performance Improvement. The end point is to conserve resources by using them more efficiently.

For a company making antique furniture we helped them map, using a video, the differences in technique between people of carrying a block of wood to the work table, shaping it and then handing over to the next department. Employees who were not performing well were surprised to see that what they believed to be the right way of doing the job was not the way they were actually doing it. In another case of a heavy engineering company, one of the bottlenecks identified by the PI team of the company was lack of oxygen cylinders. The company increased the numbers and addressed the other bottlenecks too but production didn't really nudge up.

The 5 Whys technique which is our favorite, established that the ridiculously simple reality of the oxygen cylinders was that there were not enough stands to keep the cylinders on. Foremen waited for the stands to get free so that they could get the cylinder to their work area. The wait for the stands had become part of regular work culture and so nobody thought that just having more stands would solve the problem.
 
MIS Design
 
The result of every Process and the input to every decision is good MIS. We help you design what to monitor, how to monitor and measuring the results. Our fundamentals are to use IT extensively, to collect data from the source and avoid duplication of data entering the system. The other key in effective MIS design is to understand what are the controllable and design MIS systems which help decision makers with information that is actionable, accurate and on time. For a ISO driven 30 year old company into Automotive tools we created a Costing MIS.

The promoter told us that he is not sure what's the cost of each of his products. This was despite having a Cost Audit system, a Cost accounting system. In his opinion the original cost sheets were not made on a scientific basis and therefore updates were only to reflect the cost of materials and did not pick up the right amount per material and what was the right cycle time per operation. As a result of the study and the resultant MIS we were able to identify a few components that were leaking cash.
 
Process Audit
 
Almost everybody feels Risk Management has a positive impact on their long term earnings performance but less than half involve them in key business decisions and strategy and so only a third believe that the future leaders come from Risk Management. A hospital where the management felt they had a good Process and System in place was shocked to see the extent of random modification of standard procedures because of faulty process design.

We helped them understand the flaws in the process through analytics and walkthroughs and sometimes 'take our word for it' advice and designed new processes that has helped them reduce billing errors, billing cycle time, patient wait time, patient discharge time and several other parameters.
 
 
 
 
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