Scalability and Efficiency with Standardization
Do you need to consolidate process or units in order to realize greater efficiencies across the organization?
With fewer resources, do you want to rethink how you do work and what work you do?
Are divisions doing the same process different ways and you need to consolidate for development of or implementation of a new software application?
Standardization means that processes have exactly the same steps, in the same sequence, and completed by the same roles for all units doing the process. At an even more stringent level standardization means that the process runs at the same speed and maintains a stated level of inventories. But when customers demand varying outcomes or service levels, standardization needs to allow variations to meet those different needs.
Standardization is on the rise because organizations want to restrict variability, gain consistency, get better quality, and reduce costs. Instead of having 15 different recruiting processes across the enterprise they want one process supported by technology. An organization may want to standardize and centralize a function, such as moving to one procurement system for the whole enterprise. Here the varied purchasing methods of each department need to be considered in creating a standard that will solve 80% of their needs and provide the requirements for the new software. Information Technology wants to consolidate duplicative software, use self – service features, and simplify infrastructure technology. Standardization underlies all of these goals.
Ideas and Involvement
I-4 Process works with you to understand your goals, constraints, timetable, and audience. Then we develop a high level map of the current process and build a plan for how to approach standardization of the needs. Often we use a few half-day meetings to bring together key stakeholder teams (up to 100 people) to create their own “as is swim lane models” and then compare it to other models in the room. Together the participants observe what the models have in common and indicate critical differences. At another session we have a representative sub team create a new consolidated model. Then the large group comes back to the large group and develops one standardized model that they all can agree to.
Implementation and Impact
Once a consolidated model is developed, another group takes that model and turns it into requirements for software, considerations for selection of a vendor, or a more detailed explanation of features and demonstration prototypes of a new model. Employees and managers from the first sessions stay involved periodically. Many are eager to participate because they know their voice is being heard and they want to represent their constituency. They participate in user testing and support and advocate for implementation.
Length – I-4 Process develops a work plan and schedule with the client. It includes several face-to-face meetings of 1-2 hours, phone meetings and some larger group meetings of 4 hours to one day. The process can occur rapidly in 2-3 weeks or take 2-3 months, depending on the timetable designated.
Tool Example: Sometimes we compare process models from different divisions indicating differences on an excel spreadsheet as shown here. This sheet list roles in color and steps. Other times we find similarities and differences by comparing steps, decisions, roles, and language for each sub process.
- Identify critical process that needs standardization/consolidation
- Select sponsor, project lead, and core team members for the project
- Develop a high level map for the process with sponsor and project lead
- Identify vision and improvement targets for the standardization
- Understand any technology considerations
Possible Workshop Sessions (These are usually half day sessions)
- Session 1 – Sponsor kickoff, high level map, overall roadmap, create multiple swim lane as is models and compare them
- Sessions 2 – 3 Interview customers, create a straw man consolidated as is model
- Sessions 4-5 – Department groups look at the consolidated model, compare to software purchases or possibilities, revise model, and align behind one model
Unique Value or Benefits
Accelerate information gathering about variances across the organization from 3-6 months down to 1-2 days
Identify critical variations that need to be covered in Standardization or agree to keep as variations
Build a cadre of early adopters and promoters cross-functionally that will continue to provide input to the project and support its implementation
Build alignment from the top down and middle out on needs and solutions.
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