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Processes Are Not People. People Are Not Processes.

By Penny Macias | April 9, 2015

If you work full time, you spend at least one third of your time at work on a daily basis. That's a huge commitment. So to hear a suggestion for process improvement in your area could be a blow to the ego. However, I challenge you to consider this - process improvement is not about you or any individual person. I don't mean to say you aren't important to the process. I mean the process, when looked at from an objective standpoint, should be organized so that anyone qualified and capable can accomplish it. The process should be if the person doing the job is unexpectedly absent, someone else in the department can step in and help.

Dr. W. Edwards Deming, a renowned expert on process improvements, is regularly quoted in his belief that 94 percent of all problems and room-for-improvement belongs to the system. This belief is widely accepted by process improvement professionals around the world.

Process improvement is a method to introduce process changes to improve the quality of a product or service, to better match customer and consumer needs. There are a variety of methods to achieve process improvement: What all of them have in common is they ask the question, "Is the process organized in a way to maximize performance and customer satisfaction?"

Evaluating a process and improving it takes people participating. This includes (1) the customer, (2) the individual engaged in every stage of the process, and (3) leadership that can commit needed resources and policy decisions. The improvement project should look at all of the factors that lead into the process - workspace, tools used, location of people and materials, etc. Process improvement should never start with the assumption that any problems are caused entirely by the people engaged in the process.

Once a process is optimized, then the focus can be placed on equipping the people involved.  Training can be set up. Team building can take place. Coaching and customer feedback can be used to communicate needs. Regular evaluation of the process by those people should be used to monitor and improve the process as technology and customer needs change. So, people and processes will always be interconnected, but they are not the same.

The City has trained HPG Champions who have experience and knowledge in assisting with process improvement. Some of the tools MAAP can bring to assist process mapping, include 5S programs, Kaizen events, Cause and Effect Diagrams, and so much more. In the near future we will also be training new Champions. If you are interested in learning more about these tools or scheduling time to discuss process improvements, feel free to call me at (918) 596-9884 or email: pmacias@cityoftulsa.org

I look forward to working with you.