The news is littered with stories of businesses who seem to be throwing caution to the wind in the aim to try and do better – at all costs. They’re making things better.  They’re selling things better. They’re creating things better.

Helping companies reach their operational best is something we love to do. We’ve done it for many years and many of our clients have seen huge results in their bottom line. Customer habits are changing which means businesses need to be too. No longer can they rely on the safe, the easy, the stuff that works. We are being challenged daily to keep one step ahead, and when it comes to the way we do things better, that’s when process innovation really shines.

In this recent blog we discussed Deloitte’s 10 types of innovation that lead to business growth. And in this blog, we delve deeper into what process innovation really means and the impact it has on your growth, if you do it properly.

Those that do

Process innovation is not a stand-alone initiative. It’s not a box to be ticked to make your board happy. It’s not something you do on a Monday morning to feel good about a troublesome weekend. It’s something that becomes embedded – especially when you’re considering both product innovation and profit model innovation too. None of these stand alone.

In fact, new product development is pointless without redefining a process that supports it. Process innovation supports product creation and facilitates profit innovation to enable the business to cope with the amount of expansion that lies ahead. And what many businesses don’t realise is just how much process innovation opens the door for substantial business change.

According to the seventh addition of EEF’s innovation monitor which is the voice of UK manufacturing and engineering, the introduction of new management techniques, machinery and production processes saw a huge improvement in labour productivity, greater flexibility in production process, reduction in production costs and lead times and better customer relationships overall. In fact, in 2017 alone, 61% of companies in the UK introduced process innovation in the past three years – an increase from only 20% in 2010.

But many make a mistake in thinking that process innovation is simply tweaking what’s already there. Implementing a new or considerably improve production and delivery approach is what process innovation is all about. It significantly changes the way things are made, developed, created. It is a sustainable and easier way of doing things to increase the amount of output while keeping your production costs at the lowest possible.


Image: Infographic from EEF: Process innovation: Bringing manufacturers to the frontier


Those that are:

Hackerearth, a company that makes technical recruitment simple and efficient for companies, spend a lot of their time looking at innovation across the world, and, in particular, companies that are doing things differently.  They highlight a few Examples of businesses who have put process innovation at the core of everything they do. “KLM Catering Services Schiphol employs the LEAN manufacturing approach. The Dutch company even identifies the drink requirements to reduce waste and weight, which in turn results in savings and sustainable production. At Genpact, a global professional services firm that drives digital-led innovation and digitally-enabled intelligent operations for clients, process innovation initiatives are of three kinds: generation of innovative insights, driving disruptive process improvements, and creation of new analytical solutions. The company follows a structure idea management life cycle and nurtures an ecosystem of partners, collaboration networks, innovation labs, and industry associations as enablers of innovation. For instance, in one of its process innovation projects, Genpact’s innovation lab used advanced analytics and domain expertise to help one of its client minimize loss from credit card collection by USD175 million annually on a portfolio of 25 billion dollars.

Working Example

Transport for London, and the London Underground realised that they needed drastic improvement at their refurbishment site in Acton after a lack of performance resulted in unnecessary delay and misappropriation of critical repair parts and refurbishment resulting in major line downtime.
Transport for London realised that apart from an improved parts and production system, the Acton site also required a critical culture change and a development of ownership amongst its employees and management structures to make the entire process smoother and more efficient.
The business needed to implement a reliable production line that was able to process refurbishments and repairs quickly, with the right parts, with the least amount of waste, and with the smallest potential impact on the lines.

Read more about how we helped TFL’s profitability grow by 8 times, in just 4 years, through helping them do things better.

Get in touch if you need our help.