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How to maintain good results after the closure of optimization projects?

Learn key steps that will help maintain the results achieved in the optimization project and how to avoid a return to previous, less effective practices!

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Bartłomiej T.

How to maintain good results after the closure of optimization projects?

Optimization projects are a key element in companies’ efforts to improve their performance, optimize processes and achieve better results. Regardless of the industry, such projects can bring significant benefits in terms of saving time, resources and increasing the quality of products or services. However, the completion of an optimization project does not automatically mean that good results will continue forever. In this article, we will outline some key steps that will help maintain the results achieved and avoid a return to previous, less effective practices.

Monitoring and analysis of the results

One of the key elements in maintaining good results after an optimization project is regular monitoring and analysis of the results. After implementing changes and optimizing processes, you should track key performance indicators (KPIs) to ensure that efficiency continues to stay at the desired level. Monitoring makes it possible to quickly detect any deviations from project objectives and take appropriate corrective action. However, one should be sure that the indicators are well defined and fully reflect the picture of the process. This is because often indicators defined in a hurry, without thought, adequate preparation and knowledge, are not quite consistent with each other. Therefore, they should be developed preferably in joint workshops involving those responsible for the areas and departments in which they will later be used.

Once monitoring indicators are in place, it also becomes important to conduct regular cause-and-effect analyses. This will help you understand which activities have contributed to better results and how to maintain them. Analyzing the results allows for a better understanding of the company’s processes and, as a result, for further optimization.

Employee training and development

Good results of optimization projects are very often based on the commitment and skills of employees. Therefore, it is important to ensure the continuous development of employees’ competencies so that they are able to maintain new practices and processes in the daily life of the company. Training can cover a range of topics, such as new technologies, industry best practices, soft skills or project management. It is also worth organizing workshops and mentoring sessions so that employees have the opportunity to share knowledge and experience in optimization.

Remember, when talking about development, you have to have in mind the employees who directly work in the optimized processes, as well as executives responsible for production teams (if we are talking about optimization in production). After all, it is often in these individuals, at the middle management level, where the problem exists. It is important to remember that the process of adaptation after optimization largely depends on how those directly working in the process are guided through the change. If, for example, the manager does not have the right soft skills, is more of an accountability person than a support person, it will be very difficult to sustain change. It is therefore necessary to pay attention to the fact that managers, in addition to the required management skills, play the role of mentors, people who support and solve problems together with their team.

Employee engagement is a key factor in maintaining good results after optimization projects are closed. When employees are engaged, they are more likely to actively participate in the optimization process and accept change. Building commitment beyond the support of superiors can be achieved by creating clear goals, communicating internally, reinforcing organizational culture and giving employees a sense of influence over decisions.

Encouraging innovation

Optimization projects often require the introduction of new solutions and approaches to problems. Therefore, it is important to encourage employees to be innovative and creative in their work. Companies should create an organizational culture that supports idea submission, testing of new solutions and risk taking. Risk-taking must also be understood by the company’s management. If, on the one hand, we require maintenance of change, encourage employees to be creative, but in case of failure, negative consequences are drawn against employees, this is far from a culture of continuous improvement.

Besides optimization workshops, an additional element to stimulate employees will be a system of rewards for participating in innovation and achieving successes – systems of rationalization proposals. Such activities can further motivate employees to engage in continuous development, optimization, and thus maintain its effects.

Continuous improvement process 

Completion of an optimization project does not mean that the company’s processes are perfect and do not need further optimization. Quite the opposite, process improvement should be a continuous process. Companies should implement a systematic process audit to identify areas for improvement and effectively implement changes.

Understanding and involving all parties in process improvement is key. Employees, managers and the board should work together to identify problems and seek optimal solutions. Improvement should be written into the company’s DNA and treated as a core element of the company’s strategy. Optimization activities, projects or workshops cannot be treated as periodic events, the result of which is to be, for example, an improvement in the efficiency of a selected process, and the Lean Coordinator will be responsible for it. Improvement is everyone’s responsibility, and improvement projects are born out of ongoing data analysis.

Responding to market and industry changes

The world is constantly changing. The market and the industry in which the company operates are also changing. Therefore, it is important to be flexible and responsive to these changes. Maintaining good performance requires constant adaptation to new environmental conditions.

Companies should regularly analyze market trends, competition and regulatory changes to adjust their strategies and operations. Implementing new technologies and methods can help maintain competitiveness and efficiency.

Project closure is not the end of improvement

In summary, the closure of an optimization project does not mean the end of the process of improving and striving for better results. To maintain good results, it is essential to regularly monitor and analyze performance, develop the competencies of employees at all levels, encourage innovation, continuously improve processes, and respond to changes in the environment. Cooperation and commitment from all parties are key to maintaining positive results and achieving long-term success for the company. Optimization is an ongoing process that requires effort and commitment, but brings excellent results for companies that take on the challenge.

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