|News & Events
Ontario Chamber of Commerce Honors Minacs
News Release | OSHAWA (Canada); December 3, 2013
The Ontario Chamber of Commerce named Aditya Birla Minacs, as a finalist at the 31st Annual Ontario Business Achievement Awards 2013 in the Service Excellence category for placing exceptional customer service at the center of business strategy.
Minacs Becomes 1st BPO to Launch Social Media Command Center
Press Release | MILWAUKEE, WI (USA); November 18, 2013
Minacs’ social media command center will help clients listen to the voice of the customer across social and mobile channels and engage with them in real-time.
6 Steps to Creating a Culture of Continuous Innovation & Improvement in the Service Sector
Innovation and process improvement techniques have been a part of the manufacturing industry for decades, but the uniqueness of the service sector makes innovation a challenging task. This is mainly because:
- Service operations are often complex with workflows spanning multiple departments and locations
- Services are intangible in nature and they cannot be seen, felt or touched
- Services must be consumed when they are offered and they cannot be stored for future sale
- Quality of service may vary depending upon who provides it and when, where and how the service is rendered.
Unlike the manufacturing industry
which leverages best practices such as Six Sigma, theory of constraints, etc., most service sector companies still rely on age old techniques such as investing in automation tools, demanding people to do more, cutting down on supervisory costs, etc. to improve profitability.
As a labor intensive industry, the need for continuous employee engagement and process improvement
is even higher in the service sector as compared to other industries. One way to achieve this is by embracing the best practices and adopting a structured approach towards building a more engaging and productive culture across the organization.
Six Steps to Creating an Engaging, Productive and Innovation-Centric Culture
- Train the employees:
By rule, people who are closer to a process will be most aware of the various flaws within that process. Thus, companies must train and encourage all employees to:
- Identify loopholes and eliminate wastage
- Enhance workplace effectiveness
- Standardize their existing processes.
Every employee should be encouraged to bring in ideas, however small, that could improve their productivity and work environment. Some minor adjustments and changes can be implemented by the employees themselves, resulting in quick and significant process improvement.
- Capturing Ideas/Opportunities:
A proper mechanism should be put in place to capture the different ideas and opportunities identified by employees. An integrated platform that is easily accessible (such as an online portal or a common email id) can make it easier for employees to share, discuss and analyze different ideas.
- Validation of Ideas:
Organizations should establish an independent team (or an innovation council) to review and validate these ideas. The innovation team should:
- Have members from all functions
- Define the validation criteria for reviewing ideas (e.g., sustainability, feasibility, team acceptance etc.)
- Meet periodically (weekly or fortnightly) to review, approve, and evaluate the ideas.
The innovation team will also be able to:
- Approve or reject the ideas based on the criteria defined
- Save the unapproved ideas in a repository
- Classify the ideas under various heads such as quick wins, small projects or large project based on the time & effort required for its implementation
- Prioritize the ideas for implementation
- Assign a support team to help with the implementation
- Periodically review the progress
- Conduct knowledge sharing session to share/discuss approved ideas
- Reward the best suggestions.
Sharing regular status updates with the various teams/employees, providing detailed reasoning for ideas that were not approved, and encouraging others to contribute will ensure a constant stream of suggestions and innovative ideas that will help each function within your organization perform at its best.
- Implementation of Ideas:
Each approved idea should be implemented swiftly. An implementation team should be formed and the owner of the idea should either lead or be part of this team. It should follow a proper plan-do-check-act approach and provide regular status update to all stakeholders.
- Reward & Recognition (R&R):
To ensure active engagement and continuous process improvement, a proper reward and recognition (R&R) plan should be defined and shared with all employees. The outcome can be measured on the basis of:
- Individual idea (point system can be used)
- Highest number of ideas
- Best idea
- Highest impact idea
- Most implemented idea
- Highest customer service impact
The rewards can either be cash awards, coupons or certificates of appreciation.
- Knowledge Sharing:
To maximize the benefits of learning, knowledge sharing with other business units is a must. Some of the methods to communicate and share this knowledge are emails, online portal, quality circles and periodic meetings/sessions.
The above structure will help reduce and eliminate wastage, promote employee engagement and growth, serve as a benchmark for leadership and enrich overall work experience. It will also improve productivity and quality of work, safety, cost structures, delivery, throughput and customer service. While each individual idea might appear small, the cumulative effect of all such ideas put together will be significant and make your organization stand out.