Relevant for all companies
Every company wants to make progress and implement changes that will last. One way to do so is to setup a continuous improvement process e.g. with lean or six sigma methodologies.
In fact, the largest defining trend that a 2018 BPM (Business Process Management survey found was that 93% of companies are involved in process improvement projects. This number is astonishingly high, and this is because to move with the market, a company must always be making adjustments. Many companies are spread over several continents, across different time zones, and have multiple ongoing improvement initiatives. Employees from every level are invited to share suggestions and ideas to improve the company for the better. Ideation and process management platforms allow members to pitch their ideas and move forward in creating solutions in a collaborative and streamlined way.
Common Barriers to Overcome
Many companies experience frustration, and sometimes, failure, when trying to implement continuous improvement initiatives that scale and generate long lasting impact.
- Communication and Engagement
First and foremost, one of the most commonly experienced barriers involves communication, specifically between multiple stakeholders, departments, and employees of varying levels. This difficulty leads to lack of employee engagement, as they feel that their concept or suggestion may never be recognized or implemented.
With so many potential areas to improve, it is also often difficult to decide which new idea to prioritize. Clear criteria and decision making processes are required, but need to be setup in a flexible and agile way to account for the different nature of improvement ideas.
If a company is in a highly regulated industry, compliance and following government standards can make the process even more complex.
4. Creating Habits
Additionally, it is challenging to keep adjustments and transitions moving forwards if the initiative never latches on as a habit, or a change in day to day work life. An article from the Process Excellence Network cited Dr.Satya Chakravorty, a professor of operations management at Kennesaw State University, as she explained that many projects "start off well […] but all too often fail to have a lasting impact as participants gradually lose motivation and fall back into old habits." It was measured that almost 60% of all Six Sigma initiatives did not succeed due to the lack of habit creation.
5. Lacking the Tools
Solving all of these barriers comes down to having the right tools. Companies start too often with existing tools, not optimized for ideation and process management, use email lists or intranet pages. However, these methods don’t allow for proper stakeholder communication, development of ideas or implementation support. A process management software will help to transition the idea from one phase to the next, all while maintaining strong levels of engagement from employees, connecting departments around the globe, and making prioritization clear.
The way forward towards true collaboration
The key to a smooth transition and a successful process improvement initiative is to have all members on board and to address all five barriers proactively. An ideation and process management platform can support addressing these barriers. IdeaFox offers a solution that combines very strong community elements that ensure communication and engagement with a highly flexible setup, which allows the solving of regulatory barriers, different processes, and prioritization logic. Through this combination, more than one third of all users actively engage every month on the platform, which ensures long lasting success of continuous improvement processes. Through IdeaFox’s platform, employees of all levels, as well as customers and other partners, can input and implement their ideas. Through active communication in the community, improvements can become habits and companies can start true collaboration across departments and hierarchical levels.