The Operational Standard is the pillar of healthy processes. Indeed, every successful company has its own ways to teach best practices. As an example, at McDonald’s, “BigMac” are cooked according to an Operational Standard, not under the inspiration of the moment. Employees follow the traditional and very precise recipe using specific ingredients. Although quite simple, this example reflects the Operational Standard concept, which applies to tangible tasks, procedures and processes in every organization.
Operational Standard as the basis of Continuous Improvement
Overall, Operational Standard can be defined as follows: “Proven, normalized and efficient ways of working.” It is crucial for every business to focus on establishing standardized processes, as it is the foundation of continuous improvement. Honestly, how is it possible to get better if we don’t even know exactly how we work?
“If a process cannot describe what you are doing… you probably don’t even know what you are doing” — Deming
What about documenting your processes?
Several factors can gradually corrupt the Operational Standard over time including the lack of documentation on standardized processes as well as the absence of monitoring.
In the first instance, processes are only in people’s mind. Work standardization might quickly vanish if not properly documented especially when an employee quits and is replaced by another one. Risk can be very high in the case of two employees performing their tasks differently while filling the same position within an organization. Consequently, the lack of coherence can creep in, leading to tremendous time and money losses.
On the other hand, a detailed documentation of each task, procedure or process do not ensure the standard’s sustainability without any monitoring. It is thus necessary to establish a working environment in which a structured daily management is carried out.
Hence, losing or lacking an operational standard results in problems within your business, regarding essential elements such as:
- Quality and compliance;
- Improvement initiatives;
- Training and skills development;
It is actually becoming more difficult to undertake continuous improvement when no one knows where to start since established processes are variable, invisible and sometimes, chaotic.
Of course, maintaining an Operational Standard by documenting processes and controlling them is possible. However, making it stronger will facilitate the task. Furthermore, there are also web portal solutions for modelling and sharing business processes for that purpose.
End-to-end process definition will help you link the standard’s components. You will also avoid the pitfall of a siloed organizational structure. Thus, information will efficiently flow within your business and your methods will be more accessible. With this kind of system, your procedures will be visible and grouped for each role. Moreover, informed managing decisions will be taken easily, with the availability of real-time performance reports.
Please contact us should you wish to learn more on automated solutions aiming to improve your operational performance.