How many of the 50 Best Practices for Process Excellence has your company implemented?

Lee Pollock and Mark Kiemele are authors of a new book, Reversing the Culture of Waste – 50 Best Practices to Achieve Process Excellence. The book provides a list of best practices that companies use to become stronger in process improvement. Not every company excels at all 50, but the companies that apply most of the suggestions are much further ahead. You can even assess your company, to see how mature your process improvement approach is today.

The book is divided into 10 chapters, and each chapter identifies a few best practices. Where you see the term “process excellence” you can replace it with your company’s initiative (Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Continuous Improvement, etc). Explanations of each best practice are provided in a concise summary, usually 1-2 pages in length.

Chapter 1 – Executive Ownership and Leadership Alignment
1. Establish ownership at the executive level.
2. Develop and communicate the need, vision and plan.
3. Train leadership first.
4. Link compensation to involvement and success.
5. Continuously assess what is working and what is not and adjust.

Chapter 2 – Effective Support Infrastructure

6. Designate a well-respected Deployment Champion early.
7. Commission and use a guiding coalition.
8. Partner with a capable and reputable service provider.
9. Integrate key stakeholders into the plan.
10. Create position descriptions that mandate a pull for excellence.
11. Quickly attain a critical mass of practitioners.

Chapter 3 – Integration with Existing Business Improvement Initiatives

12. Maximize the synergy of multiple initiatives.

Chapter 4 – The Right Projects and Studies and People to Lead Them

13. Establish criteria for project selection and prioritization.
14. Use quick-hitting studies to accelerate results.
15. Select top-tier candidates for first waves of training.

Chapter 5 – Integrated Training and Software

16. Use motivational and experienced instructors and coaches.
17. Keep the software simple and easy to use.
18. Use a blended approach to learning.

Chapter 6 – Financial and Implementation Responsibility

19. Use a consistent, simple and straightforward approach.
20. Generate successes early and communicate them.
21. Plan the service provider’s exit strategy.
22. Develop internal subject matter experts.
23. Manage the expectations of every practitioner.
24. Define and use a meaty certification process.
25. Train all ares of the organization.
26. Apply the training immediately.
27. Provide expert coaching on all projects and studies.
28. Scope projects carefully.
29. Establish and follow rules for assessing benefits.
30. Publicize and use savings wisely.
31. Regularly review projects and act based on the assessment.
32. Conduct refresher sessions for leaders and practitioners.
33. Connect and use Champions to upgrade the initiative.
34. Make everyone aware of what is going on.
35. Design and use standardized templates.
36. Anticipate and manage position loss resulting from projects.
37. Include team-oriented “soft” tools.
38. Develop transfer functions to predict, optimize, and assess risk.
39. Make innovation systematic.
40. Solve new problems using trained resources and trumpet successes.
41. Make process excellence part of the human resource succession plan.
42. Integrate process excellence into all mergers and acquisitions.
43. Update the implementation plan based on feedback and results.

Chapter 7 – Reward and Recognition
44. Recognize people who execute successful projects.

Chapter 8 – Enterprise-Wide Knowledge Sharing

45. Establish a project-tracking database and keep it current.
46. Schedule benchmarking sessions.

Chapter 9 – Customer and Supply Chain Involvement

47. Involve suppliers and customers early on.
48. Implement a fact-based process for assessing the Voice of the Customer.

Chapter 10 – Change Management: Leveraging Cultural Strengths and Managing Its Weaknesses

49. View process excellence as a mindset, not just a toolset.
50. Leverage cultural strengths that promote change.

To assess your company on their maturity in process excellence, determine your ranking from 0-2 for each item.

0 = No implementation of that best practice whatsoever.
1 = Some areas exist where it is done
2 = We do that very well  

You can use decimals (like 0.5 or 1.5), but they suggest using integers only. Next, sum up the total score for each chapter, and enter the results on the Air Academy website: http://www.airacad.com/bestpractices.aspx  

Your total points will give you an idea where you rank against 500+ companies involved in a 2011 study. For example, if you scored a 32 or less, you are in the 10th percentile. If you scored a 48, you are in the 33rd percentile. If you scored a 59, you are the 50th percentile. If you scored an 82, you are in the 90th percentile. There were very few companies scoring above 90 (maximum score is 100 points). Exact percentiles are provided in the book.  

After reviewing your scores, we would recommend determining which best practices could provide your company with the biggest gains, and develop an action plan to address the gaps.  

Leave us a comment if you filled out the assessment, and how your company scored.

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