In the first two months of 2023, we focused with Kwest a lot on helping solar companies how to standardize and automate business processes. In this post, we share how we approach process standardization and how to implement it at your solar business.
1) Evolution of processes
To approach process standardization, it’s important to have a common definition of the evolutions of processes. The phases processes will live through are typically the same and look like the following:
- Manual process: usually just a collection of manual tasks.
- Standardized process: defined instructions of how to execute a process, ideally supported by forcing functions such as quality gates.
- Optimized process: more efficient process based on the standard practice and through multiple iterations.
- Automated process: automated the standardized and optimized parts of the processes.
Ideally, project managers need to supervise the whole installation process and only get involved in the process in exceptional situations. Well, that’s not the case (so far) for most installation projects but that’s the goal we’re all working towards. So how do we get there?
2) How to approach process standardization
Process standardization aims to implement a singular solution across the entire organization to get a certain job done. By standardizing, it’s easy to scale results with certainty and get more done with less resources. Process standardization is a two-step process that typically involves first the process discovery and then the process implementation.
Put together, the process discovery and implementation elements help project management teams to develop an ideal process structure that can be optimized further.
3) Template for process discovery
If you are looking to standardize processes together with your team, you can request our template here to download. This template will help you and your team to identify and prioritize processes for standardization for your solar business.
4) How to implement processes standardization
Following are the steps to implement process standardization:
1) Identify: Identify the process that you want to standardize. The best person for this step is usually someone who oversees the whole process.
2) Analyze: Analyze the process (IST-Prozess) in a process mapping session with the whole team to identify variations, inefficiencies, and bottlenecks in the current process.
3) Develop: Develop the new process (SOLL-Prozess) that is efficient, consistent, and easy to follow for everyone.
4) Communicate: Communicate the new process with all team members and provide guidance if necessary.
5) Implement: Implement the new process, monitor it and review the new process implementation with your team.
6) Optimize: Regularly review and update the process to make it more effective.
Scaling your solar business is about constant process improvements and changes. You will never be done. So it’s important to just getting started and to improve step-by-step. Similar to factories that went from very manual assembly lines to standardized production to highly automated production, you can increase standardization across your installation projects step-by-step.