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Embracing small changes for big impact in operations

Explore the power of incremental changes in achieving long-term goals in operational efficiency and automation.

Discover how adopting small, sustainable changes can revolutionise your approach to operational efficiency and process automation, inspired by 'The Atomic Habits’ book.

In our continuous exploration of operational efficiency and process automation, we often encounter the need for significant changes. However, as we've learned from James Clear's book, "The Atomic Habits", and as emphasised in our previous blog post on the Value Innovation Matrix - small changes with low effort can lead to substantial impacts, think about quick wins. This blog post delves into how incremental adjustments can revolutionise business processes and operational efficiency.

The power of incremental changes

Setting ambitious goals, such as losing 10 kilos, requires a change in routine, habits and mindset. However, as we've seen with our latests insights on the Value Innovation Matrix, the key to long-lasting, high impact successes aren’t that easy, these are often complex tasks that require a lot of effort. You can compare them to strategic innovations, the bigger wins.

This also applies to operational processes. Once designed, they have become distorted, ad hoc adjusted, source of sloppiness over the years. The operator on the shop floor has cultivated bad habits, the owner of the process's bad habit is drifting to "business as usual", bad habits and not updated processes, that is absolutely avoidable.

The process has become obsolete, a black box and clear insight is lost. A basic recipe for disaster, and institutionalised bad habits will not benefit the outcome either. So get to work.

To achieve this, you can first break down complex tasks into solution-oriented small, sustainable steps rather than starting with drastic measures. This concept applies equally to personal goals and operational improvements in businesses. Instead of drastic improvements, focusing on small, sustainable changes can yield better, long-lasting results.

Applying 'The Atomic Habits' in operational efficiency and process re-engineering

'The Atomic Habits' book underscores the importance of small, consistent changes, which is a critical concept in operational efficiency and process re-engineering. By aligning these principles with strategies of continuous improvement, businesses can create a synergy between gradual process improvements and innovative value creation, leading to enhanced operational efficiency and a more agile approach to re-engineering processes.

For instance, consider a logistics company facing challenges with its supply chain management. Instead of a complete switch, which can be resource-intensive and risky, the company could start by re-engineering a single process, such as automating the tracking of inventory. This small change could lead to larger benefits, such as reduced lead times and improved inventory accuracy, cumulatively enhancing the overall supply chain efficiency.

Sustainable Automation – A step-by-step approach

Embracing sustainable automation in your business processes requires a methodical and phased approach. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get started:

1. Identify areas for improvement: Begin with a complete review of your current processes, using tools like process mapping to identify tasks that are repetitive, time-consuming, and prone to human error or even blocking → bottlenecks. These tasks are usually prime candidates for automation. Next month, we'll delve deeper into how to identify processes for HyperAutomation, where process mapping can be a game-changer in this phase.

2. Set clear objectives: After identifying potential areas for automation, prioritise them using a simple scoring system based on impact factors such as frequency, error rate, and time consumption or at level of cost. Set clear objectives for what you want to achieve, like reducing process lead time, increasing accuracy, or improving customer experience.

3. Start small: Choose one or two small, manageable processes to start with, preferably those that will show quick wins. This approach allows for testing and learning without taking too many risks or disrupting your entire operation. For example, you might want to automate invoice generation or email responses to common customer inquiries. Build a case - maybe by trial and error and learn! Develop a method, just right for your industry.

4. Develop a clear plan: Use your adapted method for creating a detailed plan for the automation project. Include goals, expected outcomes, timelines, resources required, and potential challenges. Ensure all stakeholders, including process owners, IT staff, and front-line employees, understand and contribute to the plan.

5. Implement and monitor gradually: Implement the automation solutions, one by one, gradually in a sequence that grows your outcome, building on previous improvements, ensuring that your team is adequately trained to use them. Monitor the performance of these tools closely in the initial stages. Track metrics related to your objectives, like process lead time, error rates, or customer satisfaction scores. But above all, check whether the persons involved in the processes have adapted their habits, carry out all the dots of the process to perfection.

6. Gather feedback and Iterate: Gather feedback from your team and any other stakeholders affected by the automation. Use this feedback to make adjustments and improvements. Automation should be an iterative process, with ongoing refinement to maximise its benefits.

Contact us for more information; the Hyperfox self-service portal is here to help you to HyperAutomate your operational processes for efficiency.

The quadrants of the Value Innovation Matrix
The cover of the book, Atomic Habits by James Clear
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The philosophy of "The Atomic Habits" book, complemented by the strategic insights from the Value Innovation Matrix, provides a robust framework for enhancing operational processes. Small, consistent changes in our operational strategies, as suggested by Clear, can lead to significant, sustainable improvements, mirroring the innovative approaches we explored previously. It's about embracing continuous improvement and innovation for a lasting impact. What small change could you implement today to start your journey towards more efficient operations?

If you're interested in delving deeper into the insights of "The Atomic Habits", from James Clear, consider purchasing the book here for a comprehensive guide on making meaningful changes that stick, both in personal life and professional settings.

Final note

These strategies, as outlined in "The Atomic Habits" and our previous blog post, are not only beneficial for personal growth but pivotal for professional development, especially in operational efficiency and automation. Stay tuned for more insights, and feel free to contact us if you would like more information on how to automate your business processes for operational efficiency.

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