Business Process Improvement

What is a business process? A series of steps that convert inputs to outputs. It's how work gets done and all too often leaders look to change how a company is structured and whom they can have in charge of a workgroup before they consider...Are the business processes we use world class?

Are your business processes customer-focused, documented, understood, and replicable?


Privately-held plumbing supply products manufacturer



  • Legacy product line served a low-growth market.
  • Consistently lost business to formidable lower-priced foreign competition.
  • Updated strategy, the development of which APB facilitated, identified that future success would be based on the rapid introduction of successful new products to existing markets. While some products would come through acquisition, most would come through internal development.
  • Product development process ineffective, inefficient, and frequently circumvented. Project:

Selected, guided, and then mentored a cross-functional, multi-level team that redesigned its ineffective and inefficient product development process.


APB Contributions:

  • Provided the methodology for process redesign and project priority-setting.
  • Challenged current practices and shared best practices.
  • Facilitated the team as it constructed a process that preserved the strengths of the old process, refined aspects of that process that were weak, and filled holes in that process.
  • Guided the development and implementation of a process improvement plan.
  • Coached executives to ensure that they played an appropriate role in sponsoring/guiding the project.


  • A stronger process, particularly the front end "funnel" in which product ideas are spawned and evaluated.
  • Clear and appropriate roles in that process.
  • A top-team monitoring system that ensured that the highest-priority development projects were receiving the appropriate financial and human resources.
  • Sunset of lower-priority initiatives.
  • Increase in the quantity of new product launches.
  • Decrease in product development cycle time.
  • Substantial increase in revenue and profit contribution from new products.
  • Stronger brand based on a broader footprint in the marketplace.


Stepping Up: A Game Plan for Leading Your Business to the Next Level... and Thriving Once You're There

by Alan P. Brache

This book is not an academic text, an entertainment, or an "idea dump" that forces readers to figure out how to translate concepts into action. It is a workbook with practical tools and questions that help readers identify the unique needs of their businesses and guide them to the actions they should take to address those needs.

The book can be used by an individual or--often even more powerfully--by a select group chosen by the executive or business owner. The team may include not only managers and other creative thinkers in the business but also customers, outside advisers, and investors. The goal is to have the best heads and the primary stakeholders focused on this all-important diagnosis and action planning.

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