Happy February!

We know you spent all of January identifying your key business processes, benchmarking them against your competitors, and identifying opportunities for improvement. We know this because you read our blogs and we gave you a few ideas on how to proceed (wishful thinking on our part).

So what is the verdict? How did you do? What is the temperature of your various business processes? Do they have a fever and need some improvements?

You are probably saying to yourself, “Self, what do we do now?” Even if you have not instituted a shiny process improvement program, all you need is basic problem solving techniques to help tackle any problem you identified.

Although there are many problem solving techniques wrapped and cloaked under the guise of various process improvement methodologies, here are three basic next steps once you have identified the problem.

Three Basic Next Steps (Assuming you have already identified the problem):

  1. Determine and document the root cause of the problem. You can use tools such as cause-and-effect diagram and five-why analysis. You want to make sure you are tackling the root of the problem and not the symptoms.

  2. Brainstorm and decision solutions to the problem. With a team of subject matter experts, develop a list of potential solutions and then use a decision matrix (such as a Pugh matrix) to determine which solution to implement.

  3. Implement the solution and evaluate its effectiveness. At the end of the day, you have to actually implement the solution and then measure whether or not the solution actually solved the problem and/or improved the process. This is the “get things done” phase. You would be amazed at how many organizations never actually execute on a solution to a problem.

Branner Consulting, LLC can help you solve any process problems you encounter. We have various tools to assist with root cause analysis, brainstorming, decisioning ideas, and implementing solutions. Contact us to help you get started with improving your business for 2015.