6 Obstacles to Process Improvement
“The cup is overflowing” cries the student as the master keeps pouring tea. “Like this cup, you are already full of ideas” replies the master calmly. “I cant put anything in it before you empty your cup.” Despite Hollywood’s caricature of this Zen episode, it has a profound message for business process analysis and improvement.
Let’s say you want to study the current process of liquidity management of a bank, or materials planning for a manufacturing or distribution entity. Approaching this assignment with your ‘cup full’ robs you of the chance to notice anything new. You miss the subtle variations in processes that invariably exist among organizations. And unless you examine the current situation thoroughly and understand why each step exists, the redesigned or re-engineered process is bound to be sub-optimal.
As for the outside world, you will be confronted by what you see. And what you see is primarily what you look at.
— Zen saying