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Implementing process improvement roles

accountant37004113.jpgProcess improvement focuses on getting things right the first time you do them. Instead of waiting for variations and product mistakes, you will take steps to change the inputs so the outputs are correct. Typically process improvement will define the goals of the company to figure out what purposes your product serves. From here you will determine who your customers are and why you serve them. The last thing process improvement will uncover is how to align your business process to make production faster and speed up all the other systems within the company.

There are 4 different roles in process improvement:
1. Business Leader
2. Process Owner
3. Operational Manager
4. Process Operator

Following the rules of lean manufacturing, the process operator is in charge of the Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle (PDCA). It is their job to learn the different processes and make small changes to improve production. The process operation will work with the operational manager to come up with business goals and performance objectives. They must then implement the goals. They will work with the Operational managers at this point to communicate the errors that need to be fixed and what needs to be removed because it is wasting valuable time and money.

Process operators have the largest role as it is also their job to check the key performance indicators (KPIs) to make sure the company has selected the appropriate ones. They can make adjustments in order to keep in sync with the KPI targets. The process operator has the authority to halt production if they notice any performance issues. Finally, they will practice continual change to ensure the company is reducing defects.

The process owner has a different responsibility because they are in charge of product design. Most of the wasted raw materials come from poor product design. If the product design is poor, you will have increase production time along with wasted employee time. The process owner works closely with the business leader to make sure the plans are being followed precisely.

Process owners work with the operational managers to remove anything that may be slowing the production process. They will use KPIs and Kaizen to determine what is causing production to be slower and they will find ways to prevent it from occurring in the future.

The business leader is responsible for several things include the business plan and the strategic planning of the company. Usually the business leaders are members of upper management and they have oversight about different company goals that need to correspond with your manufacturing processes. Business leaders use scorecards in addition to other tools to ensure that the organization is conducting business appropriately. They are in charge of analyzing the performance data and using it to identify problems. They work with all the other managers to address issues and come up with improvement actions that increase production time, reduce errors, and improve customer satisfaction.

The final role in process improvement is your operational manager. This individual is in charge of changing the mindset of your other employees to get everyone on-board with Six Sigma and other lean manufacturing processes. The operational manager has one of the toughest jobs because they need to work with all the other managers to make sure employees are being supervised and that the outputs are matching the budget, technology, and facility requirements of the company. Their job requires paying attention to a lot of little details that will impact the future of the company.

Kaizen is a common methodology used with Six Sigma and lean manufacturing. It helps companies to reduce production time and costs by finding ways to improve the process while they are already performing their job.

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