The Critical Role of Learning in Optimizing Operational Processes

May 28, 2019 | New Workplace Leadership | 3 min read
The Critical Role of Learning in Optimizing Operational Processes

In this increasingly competitive and fast-paced digital economy, the demand for organizations to achieve process and operational excellence is now higher than ever. Operational procedures are under constant scrutiny as management looks to continuously improve by eliminating unnecessary waste, increasing efficiency, reducing costs, and enhancing the customer experience.

One of the best initial steps that enterprises can take to achieve optimum efficiency is by ensuring employees have the appropriate skills, knowledge, and mindsets to identify and take advantage of process improvement opportunities. This focus allows everyone in the organization to adopt a standard language and terminology, and utilize a common operating framework to achieve the shared objectives.

How to use learning to maximize productivity

Providing your workforce with learning solutions is an essential weapon in the operational excellence arsenal. Every employee is a stakeholder with a critical role to play in the execution of effective business operations, and their training should align with those particular roles so that they can maximize their contributions in quality and process improvement initiatives.

Some employees will benefit from developing a core set of knowledge in operational effectiveness methodologies, tools and practices. With this new skillset, they can be an active participant in process improvement initiatives. Others, whose professional focus is toward achieving quality and efficiency in business operations, require an in-depth study of methodologies such as Six Sigma and Lean.

Six Sigma and Lean Certification

Organizations focused on process and operational excellence will likely have experience with the Six Sigma and Lean methodologies. Six Sigma is a method that provides organizations tools to improve the capability of their business processes. This increase in performance and decrease in process variation helps lead to defect reduction and improvement in profits, employee morale, and quality of products or services. Lean drives out waste (non-value-added processes and procedures) and promotes work standardization and flow. The term “Lean Six Sigma” is being used more and more often because process improvement requires aspects of both approaches to attain positive results.

Experts in this area refer to Six Sigma and Lean as a “one-two punch” or “better together.” Lean Six Sigma is a fact-based, data-driven philosophy of improvement that values defect prevention over defect detection. It drives customer satisfaction and bottom-line results by reducing variation, waste, and cycle time while promoting the use of work standardization and flow, thereby creating a competitive advantage.

A screenshot from Skillsoft’s Six Sigma Yellow Belt course, “Classifying and Collecting Data”
A screenshot from Skillsoft’s Six Sigma Yellow Belt course, “Classifying and Collecting Data”

Where to find the right learning solution

Skillsoft is a leading provider of operational effectiveness training programs that align with ASQ’s Six Sigma Yellow, Green, and Black Belt programs providing comprehensive multimodal and microlearning courseware, test preparation, and mentoring for certification candidates. These programs cover the full range of ASQ’s formal Six Sigma training, addressing the needs of those who are either new to Six Sigma concepts or are advanced quality and process improvement professionals.

For those seeking general knowledge in process improvement, Skillsoft offers several curricula that focus on topics such as:

  • Operational Effectiveness - including Operations Management Functions and Strategies, Strategic Product and Service Management, and Supply Chain Management Basics.
  • Lean Production Methods - including Using Lean to Perfect Organizational Processes, Using Lean to Improve Flow and Pull, Using Lean to Reduce Waste.
  • Comprehensive Operational and Business Transformation – including Innovating with Lean Product Management, Exploring Business Process Automation, Rethinking Business Models to Enable Digital Transformation, and more.

It is important to note that process improvement initiatives do not take place in isolation, and individuals leading or participating in these initiatives also need core leadership development and business skills to ensure successful project implementation. Skillsoft offers a comprehensive solution covering competencies such as change management, team management, leadership, productivity, collaboration, negotiation, resilience, and more.

Additionally, Skillsoft offers organizations a wide variety of essential business and digital transformation skills training. Here’s a course sample from Skillsoft’s Digital Transformation Training.

Russ Howard is a Sr. Director of Product Management at Skillsoft.