Monthly Edit: Do You Know Why You're Doing That?

At SLKone, we’re big fans and proponents of process. With smart, routine processes in place, organizations can drive efficiency through standardization to save time, eliminate errors, and create lasting impressions on customers, thereby setting themselves up for success. As such, process is one of the first things we ask about when working through any business challenge or consideration. You can find further evidence of our passion for process in our newsletters and website, where we’ve examined the topic at length, including reviews on process mining and proper implementation. This piece, however, is intended to challenge our thoughts in a different way.

When was the last time you asked yourself (aloud or not, we won’t judge), “Why am I doing this?” While this question may be a bit tongue-in-cheek, it’s necessary for organizations to take time to reassess their processes and approaches. As legendary musical artist Vanilla Ice made famous, “Alright stop, collaborate and listen.” This is an important message, though we would ideally re-order it as stop, listen, and collaborate.

Organizations establish processes to enable achievement of their goals, but what happens when organizations change direction, adjust strategy, or enact new technologies? These changes are a natural progression and can occur frequently. However, organizations don’t always reassess their processes in alignment with these changes. When this step is skipped, processes become stale and outdated, and no longer support the mission of the organization.

There are clear paths to fix this, but ultimately, ensuring a process is in place to periodically review processes is needed (we are proponents of process after all). This review process should align with how an organization operates, but we also suggest an approach that is aligned with Operational Excellence to be most beneficial. In an Operational Excellence environment, processes are revisited, reassessed, and updated on a routine schedule. Additionally, processes should be reviewed when material changes or updates happen to the business.

Process reviews should be conducted with a critical lens to ensure we are doing value-add work and not performing processes or routines for the sake of them. At SLKone, we previously had a client who expressed their need for help in the FP&A function, particularly around reporting. When we began reviewing the processes they performed as well as the reports they produced, we uncovered a variety of outdated and unnecessary reports being generated on a routine basis (and subsequently the processes for preparing, analyzing, and disseminating them). The reports had continued to be generated and distributed with no one pausing to question if they were being used or were still needed (many were not in use or needed).

Bottomline, process mining and other tools are great to drive efficiencies. However, it’s also necessary to revisit our processes to make sure they are still applicable and aligned with the enterprise. If you’d like help revisiting your processes, reach out. We’d be happy to further discuss how to create a facilitated and standardized approach to process management.