All businesses can benefit from some form of process improvement. Process improvement is the way a company analyzes how it carries out a certain business activity and then methodically improves upon it. In a title insurance agency, this might involve cutting down processing times or outsourcing the abstracting process, for example.

In the initial stages of a process improvement project, the most important activity to undertake is to define the project/problem. First, an extensive interview should be conducted with all of the primary stakeholders at the company in question.

During this interview, the parties should work to produce a problem statement that describes any current weaknesses. It should also serve as a time to determine the company’s goals for this process improvement. Understanding the voice of the consumer (whether it be a realtor, investor, lender or title company) and ascertaining what the customer needs and wants is vital.

The financial impacts of the project should also be considered up front, via a cost-benefit analysis.

The next step involves the creation of high-level process maps. Establishing a clear communication plan in conjunction with the launch of the process improvement team is vital. This will ensure a smooth process from start to finish. From here, the development of a short-term project schedule should occur. At this point, the defining stages of the process improvement project are complete.

The next phase revolves around measuring the problem. The creation of a value stream map, identification of key metrics, development of the data collection plan, validation of measurement systems, collection of data for problem solving and determination of current client process capabilities will all occur at this stage.

The next phase of the project is analyzing the data obtained in the previous phase. One needs to determine the critical components of the current process, identify any and all potential root causes of process defects, attempt to reduce the list of potential root causes of defects and, finally, confirm the root cause of process defects. Thereafter, process improvement specialists should estimate the impact of the root causes on the end product, prioritize the root causes, and complete the analysis phase.

The next phase is the actual improvement, wherein a potential solution should be posited. To do this, you must evaluate, select and optimize the best practices. You should also develop future state process maps, implement proof of concept, confirm the attainment of project goals and develop a full-scale implementation plan. Then you can go about executing the implementation.

After the improvements have been made, you will implement mistake proofing, develop training plans and controls and implement a solution for ongoing process measurement. You should create a plan for all stakeholders, identify opportunities to apply project lessons in the future and complete the control phase, wherein there is a transition of this control to the stakeholders.

Call Mandrien Consulting Group for more information on Process Optimization or Six Sigma!!

About The Author:

Rusty Solomon serves as CEO of Mandrien Consulting Group. Mandrien is the nations only management consulting firm devoted specifically to the mortgage and title insurance industries.

Rusty Solomon came to Mandrien after enjoying a five year tenure at Linear Title and Closing as its National Managing Director. Mr. Solomon’s primary responsibility was shaping the company’s vision as it related to title operations, business process development, national licensing strategies, technology, national sales and marketing, AFBA partners, compliance, risk management and quality assurance.

While at Linear, Mr. Solomon was a Director at NexGen Compliance Solutions, a technology provider to the mortgage and title industries. Moreover, he was the chief strategist concerning it’s rate engine for the title and mortgage industry including its flagship product, TitleHound.

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