Process Optimization: My Low Hanging Fruit Checklist

Photo at blog from Hans van Nes - 08/10/2010 - 13:36

Today companies are still careful before they spend money. They are still seeking options to increase customer satisfaction as well as reducing costs. Good points who are worth it always to be considered carefully. I was asked to carry out a 'low hanging fruit assessment', and find some suggestions for process optimization. But where? And how?

As always I started the assessment with an intake. So I took my 'Low hanging fruit' assessment checklist, and performed the intake. In this blog I want to share this checklist with you. It consists of the steps expected result, work-flow analysis, demand evaluation, roles of organization units, and reporting. The kernel of this list lies in the analysis of how a demand leads to a work-flow, and how this involves organization units.

There are several methods and techniques available to help with the analysis. I always ask the organization if they already use certain methods, and what they prefer. In this case I got the free hand. This is not as ideal as it sounds as this implies that only methods and techniques can be used which are very intuitive, and need little explaining. Otherwise it takes much time to train the involved company employees in these methods and techniques.

All this results in my checklist:

  1. Determine purpose and result
    I use PRINCE II/Project Mandate to establish the 'what' and the 'how'. This addresses: Project definition, Project owner, Reason, Goal, Limitations and conditions, Relations with other projects, Quality expectations, Business case, References, Project members, Concerned in- and external entities.
  2. Analyze the work-flow
    My preferred method is the event triggered work-flow analysis, Business Event Analysis, which results in knowledge about external entities that trigger the business process, and expect a certain qualified result. This determines the demand as well as the demand frequency.
  3. Evaluate the demand
    We must analyze the characteristics of the demand, starting with how much time is needed for the response ('the system response time'), and whether the demand is positive, like a product you want to sell, or the demand is a negative, like a complaint of some nature.
  4. Evaluate the involved organization units
    The business process usually crosses organization unit boundaries. We must determine which units can make decisions, and which only influence the result.
  5. Report the conclusions
    The results of the analysis must be ordered. Low hanging fruit means: What can we improve easily, with little cost, and fast.

Do you have a checklist for finding low hanging fruit in your process optimization? Do you want help? Contact Hans Lodder now! Hans is sure to find you new possibilities you would never have thought of before!

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