5 Simple Steps to Conducting a Process Improvement

Think of a process in your life that could be done better. The process might be unorganized or inefficient. Once you have a process that you’d like to improve use these 5 Steps to conduct your own process improvement.

Watch my Video where I demonstrate these steps to improve gift-wrapping in my home.

Define the Process

The first step of conducting a process improvement is to define what the process is that you want to improve upon. This can be any process that is repeated. For individuals this can be anything from managing your inbox to prepping meals. For business this includes any business process from paying vendors to managing client information.

In my example video, I am improving the process of wrapping gifts in my home.  This is a process that is not done on a regular basis but could definitely use some improvement.

Document Current Reality

The second step of conducting a process improvement is to document the current state of the process. This has to be the reality of what is going on now – not what you want it to be or what it should be, but what it actually is. In a business setting, if you aren’t the one actually performing the process – you have to go walk the process and talk to the people that do the process.

In my example video, I documented the current state with these sticky note descriptions:

  • Excess Supplies
  • Don’t have all the required tools when it’s time to perform the process
  • Christmas wrapping stored with other wrapping throughout the year
  • Wrapping items stored in various locations

Document the Ideal State

The third step of conducting a process improvement is to document the ideal state. This is documenting what the process would look like if you had unlimited time, money, resources, and lived in Utopia. This step is often overlooked but so important to get you thinking of the vision for your desired future state.

In my example video, I document my ideal state as “Every gift is purchased pre-wrapped eliminating the need for the process altogether.” This ideal state identifies the need to simplify the process as I develop the future state.

Now – what if my ideal state was “To curate a unique individually wrapped package for each and every package that I give.” This ideal state would set the stage for a whole different future state.

Document the Desired Future State

The fourth step of conducting a process improvement is to document the desired future state. This will be documenting how the future state will be completed and what you will do to get there.

In my example video, the future state is documented with these sticky note descriptions:

  • Eliminate Excess Supplies
  • Store Christmas wrapping supplies separate and with the Christmas decorations
  • Have a designated space for wrapping scissors and tape to always have on hand when needed
  • Identify cohesive storage locations for the wrapping items.

Implement

The fifth and final step is to implement the plan identified when developing the desired future state. This step may require some rework as the new process is tested and implemented, but having a continuous improvement mindset is critical to success.

I implemented my future state for my gift-wrapping process and showed my results. I removed a significant amount of my excess supplies and reduced my storage from 3 drawers to 1 drawer. I now have a designated storage for tools needed such as tape and scissors. I separated my Christmas wrapping supplies and will store those items with Christmas decorations in the attic.

Need Help?

Do you need help with a process improvement?  Contact us for to get started.