Fieldamental #24: Be Process-Oriented

BE PROCESS-ORIENTED. World-class organizations are built on a foundation of highly effective, repeatable processes.  Look to create processes for every aspect of your work, and then turn those processes into habits to achieve consistent results.

This is one of the most important “building blocks” of how we need to think and act at Field.  Our value proposition is straightforward; we help our customers save money by providing proactive technical support services and robust VMI systems.  This happens best when we execute a series of defined and repeatable processes.  Many of the Fieldamentals include a focus on being process driven, including the following:

  • Honor commitments
  • Make quality personal
  • Be vigilant about safety
  • Get clear on expectations and purpose
  • Practice active listening
  • Practice blameless problem solving
  • Be relentless about continuous improvement and eliminating waste
  • Be obsessive about organization and our appearance

One of the best tools we have access to that can help define and improve processes is flow charting.  The sales and VMI teams have used flow charts very effectively to help current and potential customers understand how Field can drive improvement for them.  By developing a “current state” process map, we can easily show how the current system is inefficient or ineffective.  Then we develop a “future state” process map of how Field would manage the VMI system.  The process is always much more straightforward, has fewer steps and has significantly less customer involvement.  The combination of creating 2 process maps has proven to be very helpful determining the best system and communicating it to our customers.

Consider using this very same approach for internal processes at Field that could be improved upon.  Gather a few people involved in a process, create a simple flow chart of how the process works today, and then brainstorm options for ways to make it better.  Conditions like: rework, transitions to a different functional area, waiting for the next step to happen and inconsistencies can indicate areas where the process could be improved upon.  Accurate flow charts of effective process are also a good way to teach the process to other team members.

We all need to be comfortable challenging our current process if we think they can be improved.  Share process improvement ideas with your functional team during meetings and huddles.  Also challenged yourself to find ways can improve your own personal processes.