Process Optimization And The Art of Mapmaking - Two Case Studies

Posted: Updated:

Large or small, businesses contain processes that define how they work. Those processes may be simple or complex, and may or may not be documented and consistent across the organization. During growth and change, processes tend to become more complex in one of two ways:

Like pioneers exploring uncharted territory, start-up organizations tend to build processes organically. These methods are rarely documented and evolve quickly with technology and business changes. Individuals find their own ways of working, which is efficient until the scale inhibits collaboration.

Much like ancient cities featuring cobblestone streets accented with modern traffic controls, transitioning organizations typically have processes in place that were developed during growth phases and modified in reaction to localized problems. Depending on the age of the organization, those processes may no longer be effective.

Companies including CORE Planning Strategies work with organizations to help them optimize their processes to improve their effectiveness. Similar to mapmakers using a compass to stay on course, we start by gathering data and progress into documenting the paths being traveled. The approach varies based on whether we are charting new courses or redirecting traffic patterns.

Growth Organizations - Charting New Territory

I recently consulted with a real estate development company that has experienced exponential growth over the past 5 years. The developers are primarily ambitious Millennials, eager to move up in the organization, willing to leverage technology, and nimble enough to learn new processes. However, each developer adopted programs that were familiar and readily available.

Our discovery phase began in discussions with upper management and top developers, and it highlighted the need to streamline processes for the development, preconstruction and construction phases. The interviews uncovered duplicative software packages that could be pared down to a single technology solution, allowing for dashboard-style reporting of project schedule, budget and status. This consolidation resulted in improved efficiencies for property management, marketing and leasing, who no longer required training on multiple scheduling software packages.

CORE worked with the client’s IT department to design cloud-based tools that track critical path, tasks, approvals, contact lists and design progress, resulting in the ability to readily share information across the organization. To close out the project, we provided diagrams defining the company’s tools and processes - resources that can help them with onboarding of new team members.

Transitioning Organizations - Clearing the Path

While managing a large capital program for a university client, we discovered three key challenges with their online collaboration solution:

  • Their file sharing solution would only operate using an old software version. Upgrading the software would cause the solution to fail, and delaying the upgrade was subjecting computers to security vulnerabilities.
  • The files were automatically purged after a period of time. This prevented the project team from verifying that they had current and complete files.
  • Identifying new files was only possible through a "hunt and peck" process - a time-consuming task that involved opening folders and subfolders and comparing contents with local records to find new content.

After discovering these challenges, we helped the team define requirements for a replacement solution.

  • Security of hardware and software was critical.
  • The university needed to own the information and the access to it through a controlled environment.
  • All users needed to see the shared information, and it could not disappear.
  • Changes to the content needed to be tracked through an RSS feed or other log.

After working with a university engineer to test potential solutions, presented by the university’s IT department, we agreed on a cloud-based system that synced to local machines and provided transferable controls of files and folders. Most importantly, the program efforts were no longer slowed by administrative issues, improving efficiency of both employees and consultants.

Continuous Process Optimization - Updating Your Navigation System

Have you ever turned on the navigation system in your car, and tried to drive to a house in a new neighborhood? Or, been directed to turn left when you need to go to the third exit in a roundabout? Online map programs are constantly charting new paths and updating their routes to stay current. This same principle applies to businesses.

As your business grows, first figure out what you do, and then start documenting how it happens. Share your successes with your coworkers, and work together toward standard processes that can be taught to new employees. Generate onboarding documentation and update it as your business evolves.

If you work within an established organization, notice experiences that are frustrating team members due to long approval processes or cumbersome requirements. Talk with your IT department, consultants and new employees to find out how the same tasks are completed in other organizations. Define your challenges and objectives, then test solutions before adoption.

Jenell Fairman is senior project manager for Core Planning Strategies.

  • Perspectives

    • Social Security Benefits For Your Spouse

      When should you begin Social Security benefits? That depends! If you are married, determining when to start receiving Social Security benefits becomes more complicated. Social Security benefits for spouses are not cut-and-dried. Benefits for a divorced spouse, Social Security survivor benefits, and working or non-working spouses are regulated by a different set of rules. While everyone wants to maximize the amount received, doing so will require thinking through multiple options.

    More

Subscribe

Name:
Company Name:
Email:
Confirm Email:
HTML
INside Edge
Morning Briefing
BigWigs & New Gigs
Life Sciences Indiana
Indiana Connections
INPower
Subscribe
Unsubscribe

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • Social Security Benefits For Your Spouse

      When should you begin Social Security benefits? That depends! If you are married, determining when to start receiving Social Security benefits becomes more complicated. Social Security benefits for spouses are not cut-and-dried. Benefits for a divorced spouse, Social Security survivor benefits, and working or non-working spouses are regulated by a different set of rules. While everyone wants to maximize the amount received, doing so will require thinking through multiple options.

    • Maggie Galloway accepted the top prize for Inscope Medical. (Picture Courtesy: inX3)

      Organizers Cancel INX Event

      A multi-day event celebrating Indiana innovation that debuted last year will not return this year. In a joint release, INX organizer inXInnovate LTD and the Venture Club of Indiana say INX, originally scheduled for September 18-19 in Indianapolis, has been canceled. The groups cite "unforeseen circumstances" for the cancellation. Last year's event, which took place at The Union 525 in downtown Indianapolis, featured events including the Venture Club's...

    • (Image courtesy of Winona Building Products LLC.)

      Manufacturer to Start up in Plymouth

      Winona Building Products LLC is planning to invest $9 million into a new facility in Plymouth. The startup manufacturer is locating to a former food processing plant in the Marshall County city and says it could create more than 150 jobs over the next four years. Winona, founded by the owners of Kosciusko County-based Winona Powder Coating Inc. and E&H Products Inc. of Florida, expects to open the facility in November. The company says it plans to...

    • (Image courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts.)

      'Legend And Icon' Retires From Colts Broadcasts

      The radio voice of the Indianapolis Colts for more than 30 years has retired. Bob Lamey, who was with the organization from 1984 to 1991 and from 1995-2018, was inducted into the Indiana Sports Broadcasters and Writers Hall of Fame in 2008. On an interim basis, Colts Radio Production Manager Matt Taylor will take over play-by-play responsibilities. Colts owner Jim Irsay called Lamey "a legend and icon" and said...

    • AstraZeneca Makes Global Connections From Posey County

      The executive director of a major pharmaceutical site in Posey County is discussing its global reach. In a video from the Economic Development Coalition of Southwest Indiana profiling the AstraZeneca PLC manufacturing and distribution operation in Mount Vernon, Tanya Harris says about half of the products from the facility are exported throughout the world. The operation was acquired by AstraZeneca in late 2015 in a more than $3 billion deal for the global diabetes business...