Interaction Process Analysis and
Process Improvement

How many times have you sat in a meeting where the team discussed serious business process improvements? How many times have those meetings lacked any real substance? Improving a process cannot be done on a whim, it needs to be done with facts and figures; information drives good process improvement. Interaction Process Analysis helps provide the required information.

One company that I used to work for, constantly changed their business processes. Something wasn't working, so it got changed. A few weeks later the same issue would arise and the company instigated another change. The cycle repeated. Each ill-informed change took time and effort. But the change did not truly address the challenges faced by the business.

The company didn't make the small investment in effort to gather the information required to make an informed decision. Yet the company tolerated the countless inefficiencies down the line. Thankfully I was eventually able to get involved with this process and lead by example; basing decisions on data, information and insight.

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Interaction Process Analysis

One of the most effective process improvement methods is the 'Interaction Process Analysis" tool

This is a veteran of the process improvement world, but a tool that seems to be largely ignored outside of the process improvement community. This tool looks at the process and the interaction of the elements about the process.

The core elements of the analysis include:

  • Recording each step of the process.
  • Capturing the associated distances traveled and time taken.
  • Determining the type of activity being recorded (operation, travel, delay, inspection or storage).

The art of a good interaction process analysis exercise involves capturing every single step in a process.

To put this into its proper perspective, one business' member of staff stated "I get the order out of my email, print it out and put it in my colleagues in-tray. He then takes it and processes it. Thirty seconds. That's it. I don't know why we need to do this analysis!"

After some clarification the real picture was:

  1. Process emails for order: 1 minute.
  2. Collects printed order from printer and leaves in colleagues in tray: 2 minutes.
  3. Delay waiting for colleague to process previous day's orders: 4.5 hours.

PDCA Complete is an organizational task management system with built-in continuous improvement tools. Includes projects, meetings, audits and more.

Built by Quality Assurance Solutions.

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Yes, you read that right. Initially the staff member perceived that this part of the process took around 30 seconds. However, in reality, if you follow the order, the process took over four and half hours.

Interaction Process Analysis helps you

  • examine the process thoroughly
  • document and describe the detail level
  • find opportunities waiting for you in your business.

PDCA Complete Software

After you complete the interaction process analysis you must determine the tasks to improve the situation. You can use PDCA Complete projects to track the improvements. You can also upload the filled in form into the software.

PDCA Complete is an organizational task management system with built-in continuous improvement tools. Includes projects, meetings, audits and more.

Built by Quality Assurance Solutions.

PDCA Complete

Not only will PDCA Complete help you capture and manage the process flow analysis information, it allows you to swiftly convert key opportunities into improvement actions. This functionality means that you can review a business process from a variety of perspectives. Then you can gather all of the improvement actions together. Our built-in prioritization system means that you can manage the improvement activities in the most effective manner for your business.

Good process improvement methods means collecting good information. This lets you identify the right improvements, and make effective changes. PDCA Complete is a great tool for doing this.

Continuous Improvement Managers and Operations Managers who use PDCA Complete continually provide positive feedback. One key repeating point, the software centralizes the management of improvement opportunities. It takes away the need for having numerous project plans and getting lost in the details. PDCA Complete takes care of the organization part, so you can take care of the making it happen part.

Download an Interaction Process Analysis Template

 

Article written by Giles Johnston of Smartspeed Consulting Limited for Quality Assurance Solutions. Article edited and posted by Quality Assurance Solutions

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