Internal Process Improvement Initiative
The VP of Operations has concluded that the forecasting and material ordering function of your company is wasteful and highly inefficient. The VP assesses that too many manual steps exist in the sales activities and the materials planning, order placement, and fulfillment processes. You have been assigned to a team to perform research and benchmarking of the complete sales process and to make recommendations about any changes that can be implemented.
- Is efficiency currently measured in the forecasting and material process?
- How was it determined that the process is wasteful?
- Is the existing process documented? Do any ideas exist regarding a possible new process?
- Is it possible to automate more of the process and eliminate manual steps? If so, how realistic is this?
- How easy (or difficult) would it be to design and implement a new process? Does our company have an understanding of how this is done? Is the company capable of developing and implementing a new process and corresponding new application?
- Where do we begin to conduct research in this area?
- Where in the process do inefficiencies come from?
- What process are we using and where is it breaking down?
- Would constructing a flowchart, like the one below, assist us in determining where the breakdown is?
- What challenges are you as a team likely to face in this research? How feasible is the research you plan and what issues or constraints should be communicated to the company executive requesting this research?