As children, many of us were forced to eat broccoli against our will. Our parents told us it was good for us and while we didn’t like the taste, we obliged, held our nose and swallowed it as quickly as possible. Many times, designing and rolling out a new process is very similar. When rebuilding a process, be it in the procurement space or not, many projects get very myopic and stick to a defined process of gathering the requirements, performing some workshops and interviews, build a proposed process, make adjustments, get stakeholder approval, train impacted users, roll it out and BOOM!, a functional new way of operating. There are a lot of things that can be missed in transforming a business. Below, is a quick checklist of some considerations when proposing process transformation.
Some things to consider when executing process change:
Assess the current process and its effectiveness. When designing a new process, map the old process from a value-add and non-value add activity perspective. This will give you a quick roadmap of where you can make easy process cuts. Then, in development of a successful transformation perform a readiness assessment per region to understand why the process needs to change and how ready the group is for change. It will be found that in certain situations, a global process isn’t the right approach. Every company has aspirations to develop global processes, but a hybrid model can be more effective. Localization in some cases is necessary due to government regulation, customer behavior, competition, ordering patterns, etc.
Take into account the current business environment. Understanding the voice of the customer (people affected by process change) per region will result in understanding the environment holistically, saving many implementation headaches. This also helps the end user because they believe their case is understood. There are many pitfalls in building a new process and by not accounting for and providing process flexibility to the end user, sets up for difficult acceptance rate and a change management challenge.
Find redundancies in the process to reduce the burden on the people executing the work. Integrating some LEAN elements into the process design grants real benefits. Cutting out waste not only simplifies the process, it demonstrates to the employees affected that the new process is there to really help them, in addition to the bottom line. After designing the new process, perform a 7 wastes assessment and it will become clear if the process is value add. Use of a RACI matrix for each process step and approval meetings will quickly show participatory redundancies and alignment.
Look for opportunities to leverage technology and automation. An investment in technology assists the end user in the newly implemented process and displays an investment in the process beyond time and cost requirements of new meetings, reviews & tollgates. The message sent to the impacted group is, “we invested money and time in making the process better, and it is here for the long haul and is best in class.” Providing some process relief with tool upgrades and training eases some of the acceptability issues and reduces pain in the change management phase.
Looking at the process in this new lens, integrating a LEAN toolkit and approach will allow for a more robust, user-centric and end-to-end transformation.