Process improvement is not a “one-and-done” proposition. It’s simply not possible to “fix” an operation and then walk away, thinking it will continue to perform at an optimum level.
To stay as competitive, profitable and efficient as possible, business leaders have recognized the need for qualified experts to develop, implement and manage continuous process improvement.
It is for this reason that process improvement managers are increasingly in demand.
Process Improvement Manager Job Outlook, Potential Salary
The federal government does not track the specific process improvement manager occupation. Other sites, however, offer a look into the job’s earning potential.
- $101,000 annually for process improvement managers, according to LinkedIn, which reached that number based on information from members of the job networking site. The biggest employers include Amazon, Accenture, Philips and J.P. Morgan Chase.
- $80,944 for process improvement managers, according to PayScale, which likely has a wider range of information. However, they list a median salary of almost $118,000 for some in the profession.
- $79,550 for process improvement specialists, according to Study.com
In regard to demand, CNN Money reported that a 12% growth in the process improvement field is expected between through 2025.
The need for process improvement professionals exists across all industries. They also are hired to work with nonprofits and government agencies that often face budget constraints and a have needs for efficiency.
Typical Job Duties
The job duties of a process improvement manager can vary depending on the industry or employer. But in all cases, the main goal of a process improvement manager is to improve and maintain efficient and profitable operations that also produce the highest quality of products and services.
Doing so requires knowing where to find the challenges in a process and methods of correcting them. This is why Lean and Six Sigma training are popular among process improvement managers. These two proven methodologies give managers tools and techniques to attack waste, reduce inefficiencies and cut down on mistakes and errors in a process.
Typically, doing the job requires some or all of the following.
- Evaluating, in detail, a current operation from start to finish
- Analyzing this information to find areas of waste, duplication and frequent errors
- Developing a plan to implement changes
- Monitoring the results of the changes to ensure they are working
- Making continuous improvements and adjustments to maintain efficient operations
All this generally requires an understanding of software programs that collect and analyze data, as well as the soft skills to work with people from various departments within an organization.
While process improvement managers typically report to upper management, they also are called upon to manage a team of people working on process improvement projects. Leadership skills such as written and verbal communication, listening skills, an ability to evaluate talent, negotiation and mediation skills and a clear vision on long and short-term goals are recommended.
Improvement managers often interact frequently with those at the director, vice president and executive levels, and make recommendations on potential approaches to process improvement.
Process improvement specialists may also work in a consulting role for companies or on an ongoing contractor basis. In these situations, job duties generally remain the same, but the organization may outsource the process improvement work to an outside agency.
Education And Training
Process improvement management professionals typically need at least a bachelor’s degree, usually in business or a technology field with a focus on business.
Learning process improvement methodology is one of the most important aspects of the job. Lean and Six Sigma education are listed by LinkedIn as among the top job skills needed in process improvement management.
Having expert-level knowledge in analyzing operations, identifying key issues that need addressing and developing, as well as implementing and monitoring changes are central facets of this career field.
Is a Career in Process Improvement Right for You?
Process improvement is at the heart of improving businesses, nonprofits and government operations in the 21st century. If you have a desire to work in a field that can help an organization become more efficient, profitable and competitive, then a career in process improvement management is worth your consideration.