Improving Services - Process Improvement
Like any business, childcare providers deliver their services through a series of processes, whether they are well defined and strict or more ad hoc, the use and control of key processes can make the difference between success and failure and within them are where many opportunities for improvement lie.
It’s likely that you will have well defined and controlled processes for delivering childcare quality through development activities and resources, good systems for invoicing and debt control and processes for handling complaints or handling daily transitions from one childcare setting to another etc.
But how strong or clear are your processes for securing take up of places through marketing channels, or methods for showing parents around before they commit to a place, or even processes to ensure staffing flexibility?
There are so many processes and logic within what you do that interlink and affect business outcomes like cost levels, profitability, resource utilization and overall sustainability and even if you have clearly defined procedures for all your business processes, there is a massive opportunity within each one to improve your business.
Business improvements may relate to areas like, saving staff time, reducing costs, making processes more efficient with less documentation or fewer steps, improving quality or increasing income or take up. When organizations preform regular objective reviews on areas such as these it is known as “Continuous Improvement”, a very simple philosophy …
“Analyze key areas of your business and find ways to improve them!”
Here are just two simple ways to implement process improvements in your organization..
1. Analyzing processes as a team
a. Isolate one process to review
b. Break it down into each and every step, sketch it out, and be very clear to fully detail every activity in the process.
c. Look for improvements like,
i. Does it work smoothly and simply?
ii. Can the process be shortened? (Less time, less cost, less effort).
iii. Looking for steps that are not needed.
iv. Documents that are not required or could be simplified.
v. Is the logic of the process correct, or too long, or does it cause other unnecessary work.
vi. Look for process steps that do not add value. i.e. those steps that don’t provide any benefit or desired outcome, like unnecessary recording of information that won’t be analyzed or is not needed from a business or legislative perspective.
2. Have a suggestion box
a. Implementing a simple and open suggestion scheme in your organization is a great way of simply gathering views for all the team and or customers.
b. Some ideas will be process based that would then be analyzed, others may guide you to improvements that can be made to attitudes, approaches to situations and practical problems that staff or customers find when dealing with your organization.
Whichever methods you have to improve your services through process improvement, they will be beneficial either in a quality, financial or operational perspective and your efforts will not be wasted. So take a look at what you can do over the next few months, it may just make the difference between success and failure?
For more information on how to make improvements or getting started, please do get in touch!