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A Case Study on Ip Process Improvement

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A case study on IP process improvement

Anyone can make changes; the trick is to enact permanent process improvements that withstand the test of time, writes John McIver of Thomson Reuters

If your organisation is like many in this economy, you may be looking at IP process improvement to achieve greater efficiencies, mitigate risks and drive down costs. More strategic benefits include enhanced collaboration, getting to market more quickly and maximising the revenue from your innovations. With the advent of better workflow technology, you may be considering IP process automation. However, the tools are only as good as the processes they support: first you need to engender a culture of continuous improvement, followed by a careful analysis of the processes in question. Then, select a tool that allows your processes to evolve with the organisation’s ever-changing needs.

There are numerous methodologies for change management and process improvement. At Thomson IP Management Services, we selected Lean Six Sigma not only to elevate the structure and rigor around our processes, but also because it puts the customer at the heart of every project – allowing us to provide the highest levels of service and accuracy. Six Sigma tools help us identify and eliminate defects in our processes, thereby reducing variability and improving quality. Lean techniques focus on streamlining processes and eliminating delays. The combined Lean Six Sigma approach ensures a disciplined, data- driven perspective and can be applied to almost any business process. Just a couple of examples include a 50% reduction in client software implementation timelines for our IP asset management solution, plus a 64% reduction in the time to resolve IP Payment data discrepancies. Here are a few strategies for success based on our experiences.

Get buy-in across the organisation

For long-term success, support of senior management is critical. Start with a project charter, including scope, team, timeframe and objective. When management approves the charter, you ensure their initial buy-in (in fact, charters have proven so useful we

also use them to define strategic initiatives). Then, after the team develops improvement ideas, management selects the ideas to implement, ensuring there are no surprises. Finally, upon project completion, management should recognise the team’s success. With this approach, senior management is engaged and supportive throughout.

Empower your project team to measure and analyse the current process to develop improvement ideas. The optimal team should represent each involved department; ie, the people who perform the process being improved. These steps provide immediacy and break down departmental silos. Anytime an improvement is about to be implemented, the team must explain and justify the change to the process owner, who

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