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Delivery Excellence: a culture of continuous improvement
Continuous improvement is the basis for the success of any business. A development strategy that keeps you ahead of the curve, optimal budget planning, and partnership relations with customers are directly dependent on the innovations offered and implemented within the company. Introducing this process in all areas of the business can bring a qualitative change in a short space of time. And there are already examples of this. ICL Services, a large IT service company, even created an internal unit for Delivery Excellence, which main purpose is precisely to introduce innovative changes to the company’s practice.
To stay competitive, and meet and anticipate customer expectations, companies have to keep their finger on the pulse and respond flexibly to changes. Methodologies and frameworks such as Agile, 6-sigma, SCRUM, SAFe and others provide the company with this flexibility and speed when it comes to making decisions. However, this alone is no longer enough. Businesses strive to create processes that will ensure a continuous process of innovation.
Delivery Excellence was established at ICL Services in 2018. Its main goal was to develop a culture of continuous improvement within the company and implement ideas to optimize budgets to reduce project costs. To do this, the project team designed the work system (Fig. 1).
The main focuses of the Delivery Excellence division’s work are areas such as Lean and Ideas Vortex. Together they form the process of developing and implementing innovative projects.
The basis of the Lean approach is a deep understanding of customer needs and a timely, or even proactive, response to customer requests. Using tools and lean manufacturing techniques changes the way that the teams in the company think; a «customer centric mindset» is formed when the team learns to manage the changes in customer expectations faster.
Lean is introduced in the teams on a step-by-step basis, starting with creating a platform for discussing the quality of team work. Then, lean manufacturing tools are added to this site. The first successes in the work are visible within a few weeks, which prompts the use of Lean techniques for more complex tasks.
The Delivery Excellence team builds a systematic workflow to develop a culture of continuous improvement, involving all levels of the company in this process and introducing optimization tools. The result of this work are improvements with measurable results. They can be Indirect (affect customer satisfaction, improve quality, but only indirectly affect cost reduction) or Direct (directly affect cost reduction).
Lean focuses on three components in ICL Services:
- Company’s employees;
- A culture of continuous improvement.
This means that (1) all employees of the company should direct their actions to (2) provide the best services to customers and (3) continuously look for opportunities to improve existing services and business processes. The introduction of Lean is a cultural change. Without the participation of each employee, the company would not be able to do it.
As a result, Lean helps to reduce the number of incidents by 20%, while increasing productivity in the company by 28%. More than 30% of the high ratings of customer service quality are directly related to using the tools of this philosophy.
Ideas Vortex is a portal for collecting ideas and initiatives to improve service, work and automation, which require significant labor costs and cannot be implemented by the project team on their own. The purpose of this area is to implement automation and optimization projects, as well as replicate successful cases of specific teams. The result of such projects are company-confirmed savings.
Ideas Vortex was first launched on November 29, 2018. Since then, about 200 ideas have been submitted by the company’s employees. At the moment, 6 initiatives are already saving money, another 12 will be implemented in the near future, 90 ideas are being considered and about 50 are yet to be agreed. Ideas that have not been evaluated are also available — they are sent to the archive.
Thus, innovative projects that have passed through Delivery Excellence help to constantly improve the quality of services and fulfill customer requirements. The experience of ICL Services shows that companies that seek to achieve great results with the help of qualitative changes should take a closer look at the development of progressive methodologies.
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