Using LEAN Six Sigma and other industry standard principles, combined with over 20 years of practical experience and knowledge across private and public sectors, your business processes and operations can be thoroughly appraised, with recommendations and solutions identified for improvement. This is especially critical where complex end-to-end and cross-functional process streamlining or simplification is required. All analysis is objective and unhindered by historical or emotional baggage, but also pragmatic.
Other tools such as the planning and holding of workshops with key stakeholders can also be brought into play to further, as well as sourcing of relevant supporting information from internal and external sources to support and add to the analysis. Thus, a lack of existing knowledge or understanding of your specialist processes is no hindrance to a successful outcome, as demonstrated by the broad range of previous projects undertaken, covering finance, retail, children’s services, payroll, library services and pharmacy among others. With a fully flexible approach, a single process can be focussed on, or the combined processes and operations of an entire department or function.×
Using a variety of industry standard tools and methodologies, detailed, objective timings are an essential element of much process analysis work, as well as being very useful in isolation to compare specific systems and activities. All timings are completed and presented in such a way as to give the client full detailed visibility of what was included, how it was timed and the overall outcomes, enabling clear, informed decisions to be taken when considering new IT systems, ways of working or office / department layouts.×
User-friendly systems and the effective utilisation of data are now at the core of most operations, and many previous clearspirit projects have partially or fully covered systems and data usage. At its core, this may involve cataloguing all data used within a process or department, where it comes from, who uses it and how it is used. Often, low-level, local data, may never even find its way into a structured system or database, and is manually processed in time-consuming fashion. Recommendations can relate to better utilisation and/or consolidation of existing systems, the development of low-level data processing solutions and how to improve incoming data quality and timeliness. With expertise in Excel and VBA, low level data processing and manipulation issues can often be addressed quickly and cheaply. We can even provide bespoke Excel and VBA training when required.×
Whilst the technical aspects of process analysis and time study are essential tools, there is also no substitute for also getting ‘under the skin’ of a process or department through the people who carry out it out, or who run it, or who rely on it. An over-riding principle has always been to actively get involved with and encourage feedback from the people who know their processes best. Coupled with the technical analysis, this ensures that all findings and recommendations are fully rounded and realistic, as well as helping to ensure that the team members likely to be affected by any changes feel included and have had a chance to put their points of view and concerns across.×
Update meetings or communication are essential to a successful outcome, and it is vital that these happen regularly throughout a project. An opportunity to discuss, debate and help shape the outcome of a project, possibly to change tack or focus based on findings, or to bring other areas into play, the importance of a regular contact and communication cannot be over-stated.
How would you like your written feedback? Word or Powerpoint, or another format? How would you like ity structured? Who is the audience? Are there a variety of audiences? Any particular templates you’d like used? However you would like your written output, we can provide it, always written clearly, properly structured, and aimed at the relevant audience. A clear, concise and thorough record of the work undertaken, including findings, recommendations and next steps, for the client’s ongoing use and reference.
Written feedback is vital, but it is equally important to be able to stand up, explain and stand behind the findings and recommendations. So whether it is addressing a board meeting, explaining the rationale of a restructure to a room of employees, chairing a workshop or briefing a senior management team, clearspirit can deliver them all with confidence and success.×
A common issue with periods of consultancy can be how to maintain and take forward the recommendations. An integral part of all clearspirit work is to ensure that all possible opportunities for a successful implementation are taken, These could include being embedded within a team, or working closely alongside an existing member of staff for the duration of the project. Handover of the detailed findings and recommendations to a named employee, creation of training materials and user notes, bespoke training sessions and development of implementation strategies have all been used in the past to ensure successful outcomes after the scheduled clearspirit support has ended. In addition, ad hoc advice and support is always offered after project completion.
If any bespoke system solutions have been identified and developed as part of the project findings and recommendations, full system user guides and training will be provided, as well as an assurance that the correct skills are in place to maintain and develop them in the future. Recommendations can be made for relevant training courses to attend to support this.
Most clients tend to be happy to implement the project recommendations themselves, but there are times when the necessary skills or availability of resource are in place to do this. When required, clearspirit can manage the full implementation process for you, including the development and management of a strategy to take everything from recommendation to implementation.×
In an apparent age of austerity across public and private sector, the need to reduce costs has probably never been greater. Cutting costs can be superficially quite easy, simply by closing down services, functions or parts of departments. However, with some care and objective analysis, it’s clear that significant cost savings can be made without the need to ‘slash and burn’ . Understanding the waste in any operation, considered adjustment of service levels and agreements, ensuring that activities are carried out efficiently and by the correct grade of staff, combining functions to deliver synergy benefits and selective usage of low-level automation have all been used in previous projects to deliver substantial savings. Take a look at the clients page to see more.×
Some processes can be quite short and sweet, whilst others can be lengthy, working their way through multiple staff, departments and systems. These processes are often ripe for review, as each person only tends to see, consider and understand their own portion of the process. After gaining an end-to-end understanding of the full process, its inputs and outputs, dependencies, suppliers and customers, detailed recommendations for streamlining and improvement can be made to deliver better service levels, enable cost reductions, or provide opportunities to re-invest in other areas of focus.×
When faced with major change, one of the principal areas an organisation will tend to look at, quite rightly, is their staffing structure. Depending on the size of the restructure, it can often be a painful, time-consuming activity, risking severely denting staff morale (especially if they feel ‘done to’, rather than actively involved in the process). After all of the hard work, there is still a fine line between a restructure delivering real change, or just being a case of ‘moving deckchairs on the Titanic’. Previous clearspirit projects have involved working with clients to deliver major successful restructures, based around the objective analysis of current activities and staffing grades, involving and taking feedback from staff affected, providing detailed costed proposals based on real data and timings, and putting forward process changes to minimise impact to the customer. Every recommendation is based on the presumption that it can be confidently communicated and explained to the teams affected, and be fit for purpose for as long as possible, taking into account future financial and process expectations.×
Sometimes, a client simply wants to know “is this service being delivered effectively and efficiently, and if not, how can it be improved?”. They may have no great requirement for cost saving or desire for full restructures, but are keen to get a ‘health check’ alongside any opportunities for improvement. Or it could be a case of being challenged to make cost savings, but wanting to make a case why this is not realistic without a scaling back of services offered. This is where a mix of process mapping, time study, observation and analysis comes in to create an objective, realistic picture of the current operation and how it could be improved. If no overall savings are required, and opportunities are identified, this can provide a chance to move investment into another area of focus.
In addition, clients often want to know “how much would it cost to deliver this service, or adopt this new way of working?”. This question is answered using theoretical timings, understanding how the new way of working will be delivered and how it will fit with current processes, giving the client a fully costed and objective understanding of the impacts of their proposed system / process changes.×
Understanding how much a department, function or process should be costing, versus how much it is costing, is a vital foundation of any operation, especially when it comes to setting and managing of wage budgets. Many previous clearspirit projects have included the development and implementation of tools of varying complexity to calculate and compare labour requirements. From a simple tool to help plan staffing costs and cover in a single library, up to a system for calculating and forecasting labour requirements for a £1.7bn turnover retail chain, all bases can be covered. All of these solutions harness the power of existing systems, thus minimising additional ICT development costs. In addition, un-biased advice and assessment can be provided for ‘off-the-shelf’ labour modelling solutions if that is the favoured route, especially where ‘bolt-on’ solutions may be available for existing in-house software (e.g. SAP).×