It’s safe to say that it’s ideal to have processes move as fast and consistently as possible. Speed and consistency are two big contributing factors toward productivity and efficiency.
But what if a process has neither? If you want to improve your process and productivity, are you more likely to put initial efforts into making the process faster or more consistent?
The foundation of genuine continuous improvement can’t happen until a baseline process is established, is followed by all, and is considered a then-best practice. By focusing first on consistency, a lot of benefits emerge:
- With everyone using the process in the same manner, the process will be stabilized and teachable
- A stable and teachable process will produce more consistent results that can be predicted and projected
- A standardized process reduces variables that can impact fluctuations in delivery results
- In addition to delivery results being more predictable, reduced variables can improve the chances of finding root causes of defects in the process or the delivery of goods and services
It is a lot easier to implement process speed when the process is consistently performed. New elements added to the process that will augment its speed would be implemented across all operators and situations, so an improved best practice improves everyone across the board.
As they say, a rising tide lifts all boats. An improved process element or process step will have a greater impact in a consistently-performing process.
Who are you most likely to deem vital to your operation – someone who sometimes mows three lawns in a day and sometimes mows ten in a day, or someone who can complete five or six every day? When implementing an improved process step, who is most likely to bring about the biggest impact – the inconsistent mower or the slower but more easily predicted mower?