When evaluating the processes and systems at work in your business, it’s important to take an honest look at how it operates and not be swayed by things that could hijack that process and lead to bad decision-making.

It’s easy to get stuck in a paradigm, believing one thing and not considering something else. There are times when we all believe that “our way” is the best way. We often listen to information that fits with our personal worldview, and reject other input that could actually help us. It can be hard to think differently, but leaving our comfort zone is often essential to success.

You can do this with an unbiased critique, and it’s important. An unbiased critique means not having an unfair predisposition to believe that an idea, process, or equipment is better than others. It’s crucial because it prevents favouritism, allows an objective perspective, and provides opportunity for continuous improvement.

This needs to be done at every stage from a new build to a plant that has been operating for decades. For a new build, you have to think about what the plant will look like at future stages, so it will be easier to adapt the process for future expansions. Planning for the future is obviously important, but it’s amazing how often we don’t do it. We get comfortable with the way things are, and when change is eventually forced on us, we’re not happy about it.

Ongoing evaluation of your process is a way of embracing change. It allows one to enhance that process with continuous improvements. It also forces you to think about costs involved, and with technology constantly improving, it can be difficult to predict how technology will affect your processes and systems in the future. Planning for many possibilities is the best approach.

The first step to conducting an unbiased critique is to assess what is working well, and identify areas for improvement to maximize capacity and profit. Next, figure out your pain points. Processes need to have matched equipment to maximize capacity — product should flow from one piece of equipment to the next without creating a bottleneck, while maximizing capacity of each piece of equipment.

Evaluating your business in this way will pay dividends, now and down the road. It can take some effort to get started, but once you do, you’ll wonder how you ever did it any other way.

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