It’s important to study process excellence, primarily Lean and Six Sigma methodologies, as a means to contextualizing data to solve everyday business problems.
In encouraging new hires to join the PEX Process Excellence training and initiative at Centric Consulting, I often get asked: “Why should young people study process?” One word. Perspective. You hear it all the time. Young people lack perspective. It’s not necessarily our fault, of course. Perspective refers to “the state of one’s ideas; the facts known to one.” There is only so much living one can do in the twenty-some years leading up to your college graduation. So how is one to gain perspective without spending another 20 years in the workforce?
Identifying Relationships Between Processes
The answer is simple: Study process. Perspective is also “the faculty of seeing all relevant data in a meaningful relationship.” Studying business process, primarily Lean and Six Sigma methodologies, is a way of contextualizing data. When you think about a business problem as a process problem you are considering all aspects of inputs, outputs, and transformations to produce a product or service. Think of it like this: Is a process self-contained? Or is it a piece of a larger process? Thinking this way will allow you to identify meaningful relationships between labor, technology, and outputs from end-to-end.
Understanding meaningful relationships makes it easier to spot problems as the gaps between expected outcome and reality become apparent. You learn to see the issue behind the squeaky wheel. And most importantly, you learn to see beyond yourself. Because it’s not just young people who struggle with perspective. Your colleagues and peers can get entrenched in day to day activities – and miss the bigger picture. Learn to see that big picture so you can avoid pitfalls while helping others gain perspective.
Embarking on Journey to Process Excellence
As you read this, you might be thinking to yourself, “I should definitely begin my journey in the study of process.” You are not alone. Many organizations have a Center of Excellence or a Process Excellence area. It may be disguised under the name BPI (Business Process Improvement) as well. No matter what it’s called, chances are they have a training program for you. Lean and Six Sigma training is relatively affordable at a beginner level and widely available from sites like Moresteam.com. After your introduction to process, I would encourage you to get involved in discussions on this topic. Meetups – called “Lean Coffee” – are available in a lot of cities for professionals to discuss Lean topics. If your organization is lacking in any of these areas, reach out to Centric Consulting. We would be happy to help you with an assessment or get the ball rolling for you.
Kyle Brown is a Process Excellence Consultant in Centric’s Columbus, OH business unit – and a proud millennial.