M&A: The Right Time for Process Improvement

5 Ways to Maximize ROI Through Process Improvement

The cornerstone of a successful organization is continuous improvement. Manufacturers build prototypes trialing cheaper or more durable materials. Tech companies test new features with beta types and software upgrades. 

Would leadership at Apple ever say, “Because we’re really busy with the current acquisition, we’re going to put all product and software development on hold for the next year.” “No new features, no consumer research, and no bug fixes.” The answer is no. Apple’s success is driven by continuous improvement and being at the cutting edge of technology.  

So why should healthcare leaders claim they’re too busy to worry about process improvement during a merger or acquisition?  Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) present optimal conditions for process improvement, especially when executive sponsorship, funding and change management are established and sustained.  

To take advantage of process improvement during M&A, healthcare organizations must: 

Capitalize on Expertise

There is an exponential decrease in continuous improvement at organizations after time because individuals have already assessed and streamlined what they can. With the arrival of new team members comes an influx of new experience, knowledge and talent. Incoming team members bring unique skills which result in a wider variety of ideas and fresh energy for change. 

Embrace Fresh Perspective

The first step to improving a process is documenting the current state workflows.  When onboarding new employees, processes are often taught step-by-step, making this an optimal time to document an established, shared understanding of the required tasks. It also allows for all participants in the workflow to identify inefficiencies and other opportunities. The “two minds are better than one” adage holds true.   

Foster Momentum for Change

“We’ve always done it this way” is a dooming phrase. When an organization is adding new team members, new locations or new services, change becomes the new normal. Individuals who are naturally resistant to change will have already been forced to adapt and accept differences in their daily work environments and tasks. Take advantage of this window to cascade change while it lasts. 

Focus on Employee Satisfaction Through Process Improvement

In the last five years, the average hospital turned over more than 100 percent of its workforce. Too often, M&A is disruptive from an HR and employee satisfaction perspective. Typically, the larger of the two organizations imposes their structure, policies and culture onto the smaller organization. This leaves employees from the smaller organization feeling unheard, undervalued and dissatisfied.  

A process improvement project presents the opportunity to foster interaction with other team members and horizontal collaboration across the organization to familiarize themselves with their new network, preventing future silos. It also ensures the newcomers are involved and feel like equals because their input is heard and valued. This ultimately prevents employee turnover and dramatic declines in satisfaction scores during times traditionally perceived as rocky and unstable. 

Re-allocate Resources

M&A re-allocates resources around IT infrastructure, human capital, finances and more. Redundant roles can be repurposed to process improvement coordinators or used to support streamlined processes requiring a new body of work. IT solutions – from streamlining existing systems to procuring new systems not previously feasible due to budget or technology constraints – come into focus. For example, the Medical University of South Carolina Health system was able to assess, prioritize and decommission 100+ applications as a result of their M&A. This re-allocation offers an opportunity to ensure continuous improvement is incorporated into the culture (and budget) of an organization. 

Maximize ROI for your organization: For more industry-leading M&A  expertise and insights, we’ve got you covered.