Process Innovation is the implementation of a new method, normally a more advantageous one, to produce desired results of a process, so certain increase in speed, profitability, productivity, quality level, or other characteristics attributed to this process can be reached. A process innovation usually involves changes in techniques, equipment, or production organization (or all at once): this effort is undertaken to open new opportunities such as possibility to produce new or improved products (that cannot be manufactured using conventional assets) or to increase the efficiency rate of the process while producing conventional products. Process innovations should be discovered as improvement opportunities worth of investment, approved with a help of feasibility study, planned in practical terms, and then implemented according to specific plan. All these efforts require from organization a systematical approach and considerable investments of time and money.
Process innovation refers to the following cases:
- Continuous process improvement projects (TQM, six sigma, Kaizen, etc);
- Process reengineering (one-time fundamental reorganization of a process);
- Reengineering of products (conventional manufacturing process doesn’t work anymore);
- Implementation of IT (linking processes to software, new communicational means, etc);
- Modernization (changing equipment from outdated units to modern ones);
- Implementation of so called “green technologies”;