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How to measure the success of your process improvement.

Published 29 September, 2022
Tasbih Amin
Written by Tasbih Amin

No matter what industry or department you’re working in, your goal for process improvement is just like any other improvement initiative: to make processes more efficient or effective. But just how do you know if your process improvement efforts have been successful?


To gauge the success of your process improvement, you need to establish metrics and KPIs (key performance indicators) measuring your process baseline and the change in these factors over time. There are several ways you can measure to determine the success of your process improvement initiatives, which include cycle time, number of defects, customer satisfaction, and cost.


In this post, we’ll explain: the importance of process improvement, the goals you should set, and define some of the metrics mentioned above. Don’t let the technical terms intimidate you; the concepts are very easy to comprehend and apply to your processes. 


What is the goal of process improvement?

To answer this question, it is necessary to first understand what the term "process improvement” really means. Process improvement is the method of applying a systematic approach to the analysis and redesign of business processes with the goal of achieving improvements in quality, productivity, and/or cost-effectiveness.


The goal of process improvement can vary depending on your organization. Some organizations may seek to improve quality to better meet customer needs. Others may focus on productivity to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Some may even want to focus on a combination of both quality and productivity.


No matter what the specific goal of your process improvement effort may be, it is important to keep in mind that any improvement will require a commitment of time, resources, effort and most importantly, your team’s buy-in. Without this commitment, it is unlikely that any significant improvements will be made.


What metrics should you use to measure process improvement success?

The first step to measuring your process improvement success is to select the metrics that apply to you. Ask yourself, are your improvement efforts designed to reduce wasted time and resources, or is the goal to detect defects that could result in errors? Are you looking to measure and improve your customer or employee satisfaction? Once you determine the metrics most relevant to your specific needs, make sure that you tie them to your organization’s overarching goals and objectives. This does not only help track the effectiveness of your efforts but also ensures that you and your team get the credit for these improvements in hitting your company targets. 


The second thing to consider when setting these metrics is how you will collect the required data. Will data collection be done manually or using automated methods? Will you track data over time or take a snapshot at a specific point in time? Once you have collected the data, you will need to analyze it to identify trends and patterns. All of this data can then be utilized to assess the success of your process improvement initiatives.


With these points considers, let’s dive into the most common process improvement metrics:


Process cycle time (PCT).

Naturally, the number one reason you’d want to improve on a process is to get a task done quicker. Process cycle time is the time it takes you to complete one cycle of a process. It's a measure of how efficient your process is and is used in process improvement to identify areas where the process can be made more efficient. You’ll need to set this metric if you want to identify areas in your process that are taking too long and causing bottlenecks.


Process cycle time can be used for process improvement success in several ways:


  • Shortening the time it takes to complete a cycle.
  • Identifying and removing bottlenecks in the process.
  • Recognizing the capacity of the process.
  • Making the process more predictable.


Process cycle time is a valuable metric for any organization that wants to improve its processes. By measuring and reducing cycle time, organizations can become more efficient and improve their bottom line.


Process uptime.

Process uptime is the percentage of time that a process is operational and available to its users. It's a measure of process reliability and is an important metric to track the success of your process improvement.


There are a number of factors that can affect process uptime, such as process downtime, system downtime, and user-side downtime. Downtime can be caused by a variety of things, such as system outages, process errors, and user errors. This metric can measure how a process can directly impact the amount of revenue your company can generate. A process that is down is not generating revenue, and even a small increase in uptime can have a significant impact on the bottom line. 


In addition, process uptime is a good indicator of process health and can be used to identify potential improvement opportunities. For example, if you see that your process uptime is low during certain periods of the day, you can investigate the cause of the downtime and take steps to prevent it in the future.


Process capability.

Process capability is defined as the capacity to produce results that fall within specified requirements. In other words, it is a measure of how well a process is capable of producing outputs that meet your desired requirements.


Process capability is vital in process improvement because it allows you to compare the performance of a process to the desired specification levels. This comparison can then be used to identify opportunities for improvement. Moreover, process capability can be used to monitor the performance of a process over time to ensure that it remains within desired levels.


Customer satisfaction. 

Customer satisfaction should be one of the goals you set to drive your process improvement strategy. It helps you understand what your clients/customers want and need and to design processes that deliver these outcomes. Customer feedback can be gathered through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and other methods. This information can then be used to improve your processes, products, and services.


Customer satisfaction is not only important for process improvement but also business success more generally. Happy customers are more likely to return and recommend a company to others. Therefore, companies should strive to provide a high level of satisfaction throughout the customer experience.


How will you track your progress?

Now that you’ve decided on the metrics to track your progress improvement success, you need to select the measurement methodology. There are several ways to track the progress of your process improvement.


You can use a control chart to track process improvement. A control chart is a graph that shows how a process changes over time. It can help you see whether your process is getting better, worse, or staying the same.

Control Chart




You can also use a process map (like a flowchart) to track the progress of your process improvement. A process map is a diagram that shows the steps in a process. It can help you see where improvements can be made. 

process map


You can also use a checklist to track the progress of your process improvement. A checklist can help you identify areas where improvements can be made.


Finally, you can use a journal to track the progress of your process improvement. A journal can help you document your progress and reflect on your successes and challenges. To stay committed, add a recurring task to your work management tool to generate reports on the progress of your improvement initiatives and share them with everyone else on your team.  

What is your timeline for process improvement?

There is no single answer to this question. The time frame depends on a variety of factors, including the nature and scope of your process improvement initiative, the resources available, and the level of commitment from your team. However, it is important to have a realistic timeline for the success of a process improvement effort, as this will help to keep everyone on track and ensure that the initiative does not fizzle out.


A typical timeline for a successful process improvement effort might look something like this:


  • 3 months: conduct an initial assessment and develop a high-level plan.
  • 6 months: implement changes and track results.
  • 9 months: evaluate results and make necessary adjustments.
  • 12 months: celebrate success and share lessons learned.


This is but a high-level timeline that you can adapt based on the size of your team, the volume of your processes and of course, the goals you set early on. 


There are a number of ways to measure the success of your process improvement. The most important takeaway from this post is to remember that improvement is a continuous activity. Setting the right metrics and regular reporting can help you tremendously in maintaining this progress and keeps everyone on your team accountable.   


If starting this journey to process improvement sounds too stressful, fear not. We have a team of experts who can identify the weak points in your processes and help you fix them. Book a call today to get started! 

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Topics: Systems and Processes