Change for change's sake is never a wise move. Think about the fall out if it doesn't work. Could it put customers off or potentially lands you in trouble with a trade body, e.g. food safety authority.
Saying this, you shouldn't stick to the same old ways either. Especially if there is a change you have no control over, e.g. GDPR - General Data Protection Regulation happening May 2018.
You need to be open to new ideas and make sure that any change fits with the way your team and business work. It could be that the change may not work now, due to costs being prohibitive, but could be something to revisit in a years time. Technology costs could have reduced, or you have a new/extra member of staff with the necessary skills.
Where to start?
Keep it simple. First, things first. Why do you need to change a process:
- Imposed - regulatory/head office/ new IT system/ external forces
- Proactive - Spot an opportunity to increase efficiency, lower costs, reduce time, improve job quality.
- Reactive -respond to feedback from staff and/or customers. Critiques and other feedback channels.
You really have no choice here, you are going to have to change.
So, walk through each step of your current processes. Where does the change impact in your process? Are there any compromises? What costs do you need to cover? Does it save or add time to the process? Do you have to work more with other departments or other external bodies/stakeholders?
This is the ideal situation. You have the time to really weigh up the pro's and con's as well as experiment. If a member of your team suggests changing equipment, or order of a process, this could be extremely positive. No matter how small the change. However, there may be a reason why you have to do a particular step. By saving time or costs on your side, might negatively impact on someone else.
It happens, customers suggest an improvement or even ask for an extra option such as time/date of delivery etc. As per the below, you need to examine if you can deliver form the inside - out.
Changes to improve can come from a variety of places. No matter what the driver is:
- Work through the requirements,
- Document what you currently do, this will facilitate the next point,
- Review the impact within your direct team/department,
- Who else could be impacted,
- Don't be afraid to work collaboratively, it's not about winners and losers!
- Timing can be a factor, that means a change may need to be delayed. That's OK,
- If you can't make a change, always thank people for their suggestions and give some feedback, Be honest with customers. You may have a customer that wanted items wrapped a certain way, but you have an environmental policy to reduce waste etc.