Process improvement is a series of actions taking place in an organization where existing processes are identified, analyzed and improved upon for optimization and to achieve new set of goals and standards of quality. First documented in H. James Harrington’s 1991 book Business Process Improvement, the methodology of process improvement focuses upon \"doing things right\" more than it does on \"doing the right thing\". A set of phased activities, it attempts to reduce variation and/or waste in processes and increase efficiency, so that the desired results can be attained with better utilization of resources. In this way, businesses can also identify radical improvement opportunities and ensure processes alignment to customer needs and expectations. These actions are generally covered under a specific methodology or strategy to accelerate successful consequences and may also include restructuring the training programs of the company to improve their effectiveness.
Process Improvement is a continuous and regular practice and should always be followed up with the analysis of areas of improvement. After implementation, the results could be compared in the measures of product quality, increased productivity and efficiency, new levels of customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, development of the skills of employees and increased profit resulting in higher and faster return on investment (ROI). The strategy has reportedly been responsible for reducing cost and cycle time by as much as 90% while improving quality by over 60%.
Process improvement is a key feature of many BPM Software products which are used to automate processes and help process managers and executives to locate areas of improvements and thus plan the change cycle.