Process Improvement Fundamentals
This chapter presents some of the fundamental concepts of process improvement including defining the motivation for change, identifying process improvement barriers and enablers, and selecting improvement approaches. Process improvement efforts are started for many reasons. Traditionally, the primary goal of process improvement has been to improve efficiency. Improved efficiency, or productivity, allows an organization to produce the same products with reduced effort. W. Edwards Deming described the “quality chain reaction”: When product and service quality improves, costs decrease because there is less rework and fewer delays. Because costs have decreased, productivity is improved. Higher productivity lets a company capture a bigger piece of the market with lower price and higher quality. Over the years, numerous quality management standards, engineering standards, and maturity models have been developed. Day-to-day work is done by a group typically known as a Process Group (PG), Systems Engineering PG, or an Engineering PG.