Adopting lean process flows for a business is all about simplification. No matter the area of focus, moving from step to step throughout a process in a frictionless and efficient way is essential for business operations and customer satisfaction – whether in customer support, manufacturing, inbound sales, etc.
A lean process is a smooth process, after all; one that requires getting rid of waste and only leaving the most mission-critical information in order to streamline each step. As big proponents for making things easy and streamlined, lean processes are a big part of how we run Zingtree efficiently and provide more value to our customers. We use our own interactive decision trees for improving lean process flows because they provide a robust, yet straightforward way to build and run through any type of process flow. For us, this means setting up streamlined systems for:
- Gathering information before answering technical questions (see this live on our Feedback page)
- Scheduling appointments and product demos with potential new customers and those interested in learning about Zingtree
- Providing guided, concise customer support and product information to customers
- Generating internal reports on collected data, the performance of our product, etc.
Implementing these lean process flows in various areas of our business have been helpful both internally and to our customers.
When you can identify and eliminate flow bottlenecks, you make the whole process easier. Imagine, for example, a construction crew working on a busy section of freeway, closing some key lanes. In this case, the process’ capacity (the number of people who can continue to drive on through) for successful interactions are blocked by equipment, workers, and a horde of other cars, keeping anxious drivers moving slowly through. By making a process flow lean and mean, you’re effectively opening those closed lanes back up, removing the equipment, cars and other complications, making way for a smooth ride.
Lean Goals to Live By
Pointing out flow issues when you’re dealing with traffic is simple, but it can be more difficult to identify those process flows in your business or place of work that can be improved on. While you’re thinking about all of the various processes that occur in your organization, here are some general goals and questions to ask yourself when choosing a process flow to make leaner:
1. Will it reduce cost?
2. Will it simplify the process?
3. Will it improve the quality of the process?
4. Will it make it easy to follow standard operating procedures?
These always help us to quickly go through a list and identify which processes can be improved on – if it’s not cheaper, simpler, higher-quality, and more intuitive, it’s not being made lean.
Mapping Process Flows with Decision Trees
Typical diagrams and hand-drawn or digital flowcharts simply can’t do as much as decision trees can when it comes to simplifying processes. While a traditional way to help wrap your head around where the bottlenecks COULD be, these systems are designed to only identify the issue, not solve it.
Decision trees for lean process flows are a live, functioning tool that’s designed to help you identify the issue AND be a platform to present that information; in other words, you can simultaneously build your process flow chart and customize it for immediate internal/external use. You can even gather data on if it’s all working up to standards and make optimizations along the way.
Decision Tree-Created Lean Process Flows in the Wild
Here are just a couple of examples of Zingtree customers that have created more lean process flows using decision trees:
A specialty medical practice in Washington, Spokane ENT says that decision trees for scheduling have enabled them to optimize scheduling, help schedulers intelligently pre-diagnose patients, and collect key medical information in a secure environment. This ultimately eliminates any unnecessary appointments from being scheduled, and speeds up the steps between picking up the phone and confirming the appointment.
One of the largest organizations around the world, Philip Morris International utilizes decision trees to improve their system of procurement, a cost-saving lean process flow. With these interactive process flows in place, PMI allows its employees to be guided through complicated purchasing journeys without issue; a standardized approach that ensures every step is followed perfectly to reduce time, cost, and stress.