Working with our clients over the last 18 years, we’ve seen some brilliant people do some simply amazing things. We’ve also seen those brilliant people hampered by inefficiencies in the actual process that they follow.
Their process is often cumbersome, the different stages in the process may not be fully integrated with each other, and there may be many highly repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Where ‘tools’ do exist to speed things up, they may not have been thoroughly checked; they sit on many desktops and their revision history is not controlled.
Engineering often ends up being done twice; once to win the work in the first instance and then again to deliver the work after the order lands. Senior engineers become consumed with tasks that they shouldn’t really be doing and developing engineers are not provided with the right tools to enable them to flourish and do more meaningful work. Engineering hours always seem to overrun; Engineering becomes a bottleneck and Engineering sits on the critical path in terms of delivery.
Process optimisation can fix these issues, but what do we mean by ‘process optimisation’?
Well as Engineers, we like a good definition almost as much as we like a good spreadsheet, so by combining the Oxford Dictionary’s definition for ‘process’ and ‘optimisation’, we’ve defined ‘process optimisation’ as being:
‘..a series of actions taken to make the most effective use of a given resource to achieve a particular end..’
Or to put it into real words, process optimisation “lets you do more with less”
Process optimisation improves accuracy and it creates consistency. When you improve accuracy and you create consistency, you improve efficiency. Improved efficiency means you deliver a better result, in less time for a lower cost; that reduces your lead time and it increases your profit.
Process optimisation allows you to create a standard set of design rules within a single source of truth, it eliminates manual errors and costly rework, it maximises the utilisation of your less experienced engineers, and it frees up your more experienced engineers to focus on more added value tasks.
So how do you apply process optimisation to a business? Well, in essence, you can look to automate a series of small discrete steps in isolation, such as initial sizing calculations, analysis post-processing and report writing, or you can look to fully integrate and automate a significant proportion of an entire process. In most cases, you will already know where the pinch points are in your business. By making the time, then taking the time, to sit with you to understand what you do now, we will be able to identify the best process optimisation route to follow.