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By Marilouise Muller

I get asked this question a lot…

How do you know when to bring in a Business Process Improvement Consultant? Should you bring them in when times are good and you are blowing your sales forecast out of the water? Or when times are bad and the monthly financial budgets are being missed and overtime is high?

While we offer our services to companies who are experiencing a variety of situations, I personally like assisting companies with preparing for growth. At Propel Solutions we look for opportunities that build capacity as opposed to reducing cost. I believe that Process Improvement consultants should be used on an ongoing basis like any other professional services provider in order to reap the largest benefits for your organization.  You don’t wait until your car has broken down in the middle of Vancouver’s busy downtown before you call the mechanic, chances are you take your vehicle in for regularly scheduled maintenance to avoid such situations.

Here are a few triggers for why you should consider engaging a Process Improvement Consultant (think of these as your car brakes squealing):

  1. Employee Engagement is Low and/or Human Resources is not Keeping Up with Hiring – the company maybe doing well financially but chances are that this will change rapidly if employee morale stays low. Perhaps you are starting to notice an increase in turnover of your staff and/or your Human Resources department is having a challenging time hiring staff to fill the vacant positions.

Typically, we find that employee engagement is low because the processes are not well understood and roles have become ambiguous with little accountability or recognition.  A good business process review will assist an organization through the development of processes maps that will demonstrate to the employees where they are adding value to the end customers.   This process will allow your team to see the bigger picture.  Additionally, the process review should also engage the employees in identifying the solutions to utilize the expert knowledge of your staff.

  1. You No Longer Feel Like You Have a Finger on The Pulse of the Organization – You used to be able to walk through the company and easily identify where the issues lay because you had a full understanding of the organizational processes. However, now when you conduct your regular tour of the organization everyone looks busy but you cannot be certain that what they are working on is moving the company towards the end goals of the organization and servicing your customers.

 Engaging in a business process review will assist you with getting your finger back on the office pulse by laying the groundwork through the re-establishment of processes as well as through the development of Key Performance Metrics.  A thorough Business Process Review will develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each of your major process groups to ensure that there are accountabilities for achieving targets

  1. When You Are Starting to Hear from Your Customers More (and Not in a Good Way) – When customers are calling you rather than your call center that is a sure fire sign that your processes could use a tune up. At the very least the process of the calls being directed to your line and are not able to be handled in the call center needs to be addressed immediately.  But if you don’t quickly identify why your customers are not happy, they will soon find alternative suppliers that will work to make them happy.

Having an independent third party Business Process Improvement Consultant review your business will have the external view of what your customers are looking for and determine how to add more value to your customers. It will also ensure that the company results are measured from the customer viewpoint which will allow you to course correct the business prior to losing the customer and the revenue.  A comprehensive Business Process Review will determine what your end customers are seeing as value and assist you with the alignment of your business processes to your unique customer value proposition

Often time these symptoms do not present themselves alone; frustrated staff who do not have clear accountabilities lead to customers’ dissatisfaction.   When one or more of these signs are present, it is probably a good time to call a Business Process Improvement Consultant, many of whom will offer low cost one or two week assessments.

Contact us now to inquire about our 2-week assessment and quickly reap benefits for your organization.