Blueprint for continuous improvement
Ricoh is best known in Australia for its familiar range of office equipment and services including printers, projectors, document management systems and IT services. In the last five years, acquisitions and expansion into new markets have resulted in the company doubling in size to more than 1100 employees.
To manage quality compliance and CarbonZero environmental standard processes, Ricoh has long relied on an internally developed quality management software system. Ricoh Business Excellence Manager Declan O’Reilly admits the system was disparate, with information stored in a variety of places, and there was also no clear-cut ownership of processes. “We had procedures stored in one location, processes in another and forms in another. This made it cumbersome to maintain,” he said.
Communication was another problem. “We have lots of sales staff and technicians out in the field, and it was hard to convey information to them. We were also facing increasing challenges communicating processes whenever we brought new staff on board,” O’Reilly added.
Towards the end of 2014, O’Reilly’s team decided the time was ripe to replace the quality system with a new tool, one that would allow procedures and processes to be more easily introduced and maintained, and solve the communication problems.
The tool chosen was Promapp, a cloud-based process management software solution that helps companies build, improve and share their process knowledge from a central online repository.
Ricoh began with a one-month pilot project involving 10 subject matter experts representing four areas of the business — the Business Excellence team, HR, Product Strategy and IMACD, Ricoh’s asset management group. Two weeks into the project the feedback was so positive that everyone involved agreed there was no need to continue with the pilot. Ricoh moved ahead and replaced its quality system with Promapp.
“If anyone is looking to understand a process or procedure they go to Promapp. This gives us consistency. If anyone is looking to make any changes to processes or systems, they turn to Promapp. We’ve had a number of in-house systems developed over the last few years. If anyone within Ricoh is using one of these and clicks on the help button, Promapp opens up and describes how that part of the system should operate,” O’Reilly said.
The ability to include rich content is a major improvement over the previous system as it allows content owners to add rich content such as screenshots and videos to illustrate how new products or procedures work. Some teams have taken it upon themselves to create content regarding procedures tailored for certain customers. This has allowed Ricoh to centrally capture information about specific customer requirements such as how a company needs to be billed, the protocol for service calls, or delivery arrangements.
“We’ll definitely see Promapp used as a tool to drive customer improvements at Ricoh. And we’re also hoping it will simplify the process of conducting external audits for quality standards, and for any financial audits,” said O’Reilly.
“We weren’t expecting to see benefits until a few months in. Instead we began seeing benefits almost immediately. What we expect now is that as we expand the Promapp footprint in Ricoh, we will continue to get feedback from users and customers, and that in turn will enable us to keep on improving our knowledge, content and procedures,” O’Reilly concluded.
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