This can mean different things to different people but in its simplest form consists of a review and analysis of the current ‘As Is’ situation whether in a specific department, function or across functions with a view to streamlining workflows and designing a better ‘To be’ process which is more efficient in its operation in either the office or factory.
The benefits can manifest themselves in many ways such as reducing cost, providing shorter lead times but most importantly improving service levels and customer satisfaction. Implementing simple lean techniques to eliminate waste and asking common sense questions on why things are done the way they are, are often the key drivers for change.
Outsiders or people who have resolved similar issues in their business career (sometimes referred to as a Consultant!) can help highlight these opportunities, by challenging the norm, making recommendations or facilitating positive changes for the management team.