Understanding you need to make improvements is one thing; making those improvements is another issue entirely.
Companies face this dilemma every day. Getting to that point when you finally make a substantial change is met with both relief and anxious anticipation. But what if you could bypass that monumental decision point altogether? What if you could stay on top of the business and its challenges, changes and goals on a regular basis?
Bypassing major change may appear to be a lofty goal, but once you have made significant and necessary changes to your business, once your people, processes, and technology are up to date and working in sync (at least as much as possible in any point in time), you have the ideal opportunity to keep moving forward with two magical words: continuous improvement.
Any company that has gone through the process of a successful business transformation will understand the level of work, risk, and commitment to the project at all levels of the organization. Even when the project is ‘complete,’ it is highly doubtful that all processes have been improved, all technology is working perfectly and all people have a fully transformed mindset to accept and use any new way of work implemented. That’s just not possible, because you can’t stop the company from running while you make changes. Even if you could do this, the business environment is not stagnant. You cannot have a utopian business environment because the moment you do, something somewhere has changed.
With a continuous improvement plan in place, you have established that adjustments will be a part of your initial business transformation plan. Just as important, this is one of your best opportunities to become and remain agile as a company. If change, however slight, becomes the norm, then your company can shift focus. The company-wide mindset goes from hanging on to what worked in the past — ‘how you’ve always done it’ — to what can be adjusted to compete, improve, and stay profitable.
Think about all the energy that has gone into making an antiquated ERP system ‘work’, or the resistance people feel over change, or performing ten steps for a task that could be done with one or two steps. Let yourself imagine what could be accomplished with all that energy if instead it was used to stay on top of the business with smaller and continuous alterations — encouraging input from employees across the organization and sending a message that it’s always a good time to make improvements. This requires a shift in overall mindset, and a business transformation is the perfect time to set this stage within your business culture.
The takeaway: if you are about to embark on an ERP modernization or a full business transformation, then plan for continuous improvement and follow up on that plan. By making this a part of the company culture, your business will be much more agile, and change will be embraced as the norm instead of received with dread. Overall, your bottom line will likely reap the benefits.