A Guide to Process Excellence and How to Achieve it

October 31, 2022
Alok Suman
Process Management

Contrary to popular belief, business processes are not evergreen - a workflow that delivers high-quality results now might fail in the future. For a business to constantly deliver high-quality end results, all of its processes need to be improved from time to time. 

To do that, businesses need a strategy called process excellence. Today, we live in an era where everything is automated, even business processes. 

Chances are, your competitors have already achieved process excellence through automation or other means.

Do you want to know what process excellence entails and how to achieve it?

Then this article is exactly what you need to understand the strategies behind this in-demand technique that can skyrocket your revenue. 

What is Process Excellence? 

Process excellence, commonly referred to as PEX, is a strategy where a business process is analyzed for irregularities, and improvements are made to enhance the business performance. 

PEX is more like a benchmark against which each business process is measured. If the output doesn’t match the PEX goal, then it is analyzed and improved to make the process better. 

So, how can businesses know if they have achieved process excellence? What are the indicators that define process excellence? Here are some:

  • The speed at which the process is completed 
  • Cost-effectiveness 
  • Process transparency and visibility to all team members 
  • The efficiency of the teams 
  • Team collaboration and productivity 
  • Consistency and sustainability 
  • Workload and user-experience 
  • Ability to meet end goals 

These indicators will show the performance of your process. If they meet the PEX standards, then you’ve achieved process excellence. 

How to Achieve Process Excellence? 

Now you know the indicators that lead to process excellence, but how do you streamline those indicators to meet the PEX standards? 

Here are six simple steps that’ll help you achieve process excellence:

1. Study the Process 

Before you get started with the process, you should perform a thorough feasibility study – what is the scope, what is the client demand, and what resources do we have to complete the process? 

You should not proceed with the process until you understand the process requirements and in-hand resources you have. Taking is well-researched approach is the key to excellence. 

2. Map Out the Process 

Once you’ve analyzed the requirements and resources needed to achieve them, the next step is to map out the process.

Your teams should know the flow of work – where the process starts, where it ends, and what tasks require cross-team collaboration.

These should be clearly addressed to your teams, and that’s why mapping out the process is crucial. 

  1. Start -  Activity that triggers the process
  2. End - Result which will conclude the process
  3. Input - What input data or information does the process need
  4. Resources  - Who is involved in the process 
  5. Tools  - What are the tools that’ll be utilized for the process 
  6. Database - Where the process data will be stored for everyone to view
  7. Analysis - Testing the end result to calculate PEX

Mapping your process will relieve your team as they’ll know what tasks need to be done to complete the project on time. 

3. Use the Right Tools 

In this digital era, PEX cannot be achieved without the help of tools. Your teams cannot perform all the tasks manually – not only will it increase their workload, but it’ll also give rise to more unavoidable human errors. 

Using tools doesn’t mean you’re replacing your employees with automation platforms. They are used to simplify their work and minimize their workload, so they can concentrate on more valuable tasks that’ll influence process excellence. 

Ensure the tools are readily available before the process initiates to avoid mid-process bottlenecks. 

4. Pick the Right Resources 

If you truly want to achieve process excellence, you need to use the right team and assign the right tasks to them. If the process uses new technology, upskill your employees on the latest tech and prepare them. 

You cannot achieve PEX if your team is not all the way in. Conduct team-building exercises to keep them focused and collaborative.

Ensure that all the teams know what other teams are working on; transparency will help them make better collaborative decisions. 

5. Do a Test Run 

Alright, you’ve got your gears and teams ready. Run the process in a test environment to see how your resources are engaging with the tools to make the process more efficient.

Ensure your teams are collaborating; if there is a lapse in communication, document it so you can fix them in the next stage. Analyze the data flow between teams, and in case of bottlenecks, report it. 

6. Fix and Improve

Analyze all the data you gathered from the test run. Improve cross-team communication, upskill your teams to meet requirements, enhance data flow to avoid bottlenecks, and select the right tools to prevent those mishaps. 

Employ all the improvements to the test process and deploy the process on a full scale after the upgrades are done. Now, your process should be far better than the one you ran in the test environment. 

Check your new process against PEX standards. If they meet the standards, then congrats, you’ve achieved process excellence. 

If they don’t, analyze the process and try improvements again. PEX cannot be achieved overnight. Keep running A/B tests on your processes to identify redundancies and bottlenecks until the process is streamlined. 

You can also use these steps to improve your existing processes to achieve process excellence. It's more like a trial and error method, but once you figure out the secret to excellence, then it is just a walk in the park toward PEX until the next digital revolution occurs. 

Best Practices to Follow in Process Excellence 

1. Analyze the Current Process 

Process excellence doesn’t mean you must map out and create an improved process from scratch. Sometimes, analyzing and improving your existing process will do the trick.

Analyzing your existing process will reveal your mistakes and other discrepancies. This will help you not only improve them but also stay away from them in the future. 

2. Build a Solid Team with the Right Leaders 

Your team is the core aspect of process excellence. Without a committed team, you cannot achieve PEX. So, train your teams and upskill them in relevant technologies to meet your process requirements.

Assign the right team leaders. They are not just supervisors; they must inspire the team and serve as the primary mode of communication during cross-team collaboration. 

3. Accountability 

Without KPIs, you wouldn’t have any data to tell you what needs to be improved. Without DRIs, you cannot improve your processes. 

Key performance indicators and directly responsible individuals are crucial factors of accountability. Track KPIs and attribute them to the DRIs; accountability will increase focus and minimize slacking. 

4. Automation 

Automation is the lifeline of process excellence. There is no way to achieve PEX without the help of automation tools. They make it easier for your team to complete tasks with high accuracy. 

It can take care of repetitive and exhaustive tasks, so your team can focus on the more valuable ones.

Multiple automation tools are available in the market. Hubbler is one such tool that can help automate your repetitive business processes and empower your team to achieve process excellence. 

5. Listen to Customers 

No one knows you better than your customers. At times, you may not be able to identify your flaws, so ask for feedback from your customers and improve them in your next process. This will improve your process efficiency, save time and reduce costs. 

Process Excellence vs. Operational Excellence 

There is a huge misconception about the similarities between process and operational excellence.

Here's what you need to know:

Operational Excellence 

Operational excellence is not about analyzing a process and making improvements. It has a more holistic view; it is about changing the organization's perspective and work culture. 

It is the activity of improving every aspect of a company from the bottom up. Operational excellence demands the team change their perspectives and mindsets to increase business efficiency. 

Process Excellence 

In simple words, process excellence is a category under operational excellence. If the former is about changing the entire culture of the organization, then the latter is about improving a particular process’s performance. 

Process excellence involves analyzing the process, identifying bottlenecks within a process, and fixing them to improve its efficiency. 

Parting Thoughts 

Business processes need to be improved from time to time in order to keep up with the ever-changing market, and process excellence is the way to do it. 

In this article, we covered process excellence, steps to achieve PEX, and the best PEX practices. Employ them in your business to turn your process into a high-revenue yielding machine. 

One major requirement to achieve process excellence is automation tools. Tools like Hubbler were designed for businesses seeking to achieve process excellence. 

Minimize the workload of your employees by automation cumbersome processes using Hubbler. Let them focus on valuable tasks that’ll help you achieve PEX.

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