22 - 23 July, 2019

Setting up a Continuous Improvement CoE to Accelerate the Growth of Your Shared Services

By: Robert Phillips

Best Practices to Keep in Mind When Setting up a Continuous Improvement CoE

Start small, show value, sustain the change. 

Start small – Trying to tackle the biggest challenges, or the most complex problems, will make it difficult for CI CoE to be successful.  The team needs an opportunity to build experience and help people understand their role, and the best way to do that is to find a few smaller issues and solve them.  We target our teams on 4-6 week initiatives, and then move on to the next item.

Show Value – stakeholders will want to see tangible, measurable returns for their investment in a CI CoE.  What does that mean?  Not endless diagnostics, reports, analysis, etc.  We use the DMAIC Framework from lean six sigma – Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.  At the end of the work, there should be a bunch of improvements and changes made – different processes, changed roles/responsibilities, new templates/tools, small automation solutions, or training.  In this way you can measure the impact you’re having, and immediately deliver value.

Sustain the Change – this means building a culture of improvement – hold workshops or lunch and learns so people can learn some of the tools themselves.  Build a pipeline of ideas, and a method of prioritizing them, so the team has a backlog of improvements ready for them to tackle.  And be sure to communicate successes as improvements are made.

Advice for Those Looking to Develop a Solid Business Case

Similar to the best practices – start small!  The best CoE’s aren’t multi million dollar, 3-5 year transformation initiatives!  We started with three people – a process redesign person, a data/analytics person, and an automation person.  And we supported them with other resources as needed.  But that small investment started to uncover new opportunities, introduced some new ideas on how to solve problems, and ultimately delivered major improvements across different teams.  So – don’t oversell the idea, start with something small and simple, and then build from there.

Top Takeaways to Expect From Mr. Phillips Upcoming Session at SSOW Canada 2019

It’s really difficult for people who are living a process or a problem day to day, to step back and try to fix it or even improve it.  This can result in putting band-aids on an issue, rather than finding the root cause issue behind the surface.  Having a CI CoE can provide the opportunity to have people with the right mindset, skill set, and time to tackle these problems, and drive major improvements in your Shared Services team.

To learn more about Mr. Philips involvement at the upcoming summit, please click here.

Return to Blog