Examples of Process Improvement are sometimes a little harder to find and measure than Product Improvement. As long as you have a standard to compare a product, any change can be determined and it is usually easier to determine if the quality of the product has improved or not. Also, we may not have to actually determine the measurement methodology prior to the product being produced. We can take an existing product, determine a standard and decide if it has met that standard. Future products can then be compared against that standard. A process, on the other hand, does not necessarily have an end product. It is part of what produces the end product and may not ‘exist in the literal sense’ after it is finished.
There are two ways we can measure Process Improvement and then determine if the Process has improved.
- Measure the created product. This becomes product measurement and that can be used as feedback to improve the process.
- Measure the actual process.
The first has already been covered so we will discuss the second.
If we make a change to the process, the fundamental question is has the process improved.
- The process continues to generate product after a change with no reduction in quality. Process Improvement.
- The process generates the same product while using less materials. Process Improvement.
- The process generates the same product with less waste. Process Improvement.
- The process is halted or interrupted less often than before. Process Improvement.
- Less resources are required for the same quality product. Process Improvement.
- The process has reduced variation. Process Improvement.
All of the above require a proper measurement process (another process) to be in place before the process is launched. It is very difficult to measure some of the above process improvements without having an existing measurement process in place. This may eventually remind you of The Siphonaptera!
However, if you want to find out about your own processes, take a look at our Assessment process which identifies them.