This series entitled ‘Process Power Tools' will introduce you to some of the most useful tools to leverage throughout the stages of a process engineering project using the CapTech Process Engineering Methodology. This blog is the fourth in the series of five, which began an introduction to The CapTech Way for Process Engineering, and highlights typical tools to use in each stage. We will conclude the series with one additional blog to detail the Strategic Roadmap.

The gap analysis is an assessment tool which is used to compare the organization's current performance to a desired potential performance. In the construction of the future state, baseline metrics are extended to the future state for estimations. During the analysis, the differences between the current state metrics and future state estimates are compared, providing improvement targets for the roadmap implementation. As defined by T.M. Kubiak and Donald W. Benbow, in The Certified Six Sigma Handbook, Second Edition, Gap Analysis is performed at multiple levels:

  • Business Level: Comparing performance to that of a competitor or to general industry performance. This is best achieved through benchmarking. This type of analysis is typically financial in nature.
  • Process Level: Other, optimally performing processes may be assessed by analyzing their cycle time, cost, and quality in order to compare it to the current process.
  • Product Level: This level includes determining the lack in necessary quality, features, or capabilities, necessary for the product to be competitive.

The following steps can be followed to conduct a gap analysis in most situations. Though a gap analysis is a very useful tool, which can be performed on almost any product, service, project, process, or business objective, it is not a standard process and needs to be tailored to the needs of the business.

  1. Leverage Existing Data: To adequately conduct a gap analysis, it is necessary to leverage existing data. Specifically with a process-oriented gap assessment, key metrics include cycle time, time per process step, defect rate, etc. You can only do a gap assessment on the information that you know about the current state, so obtaining this existing data, or collecting it during the Analyze Current State phase is critical to an effective gap analysis. The key metrics should be documented in a tool that can be used to do comparisons, such as a spreadsheet.
  2. Document Desired Future State Performance: Through strategy discussions to determine Critical to X objectives, a desired future state performance can be developed. Considering the business vision and objectives, key performance metrics are documented. These metrics should be realistic, but state what is desired as a result of the change to the future state. It is important to use the same metrics as those used to measure the current state, so that the gap between the two can be analyzed.
  3. Clearly identify the differences between Current and Desired Future State: Using the data gathered during the Analyze Current State phase and the desired future state performance measures, determine the gap between the two. The gaps can be large or small, but identification will help you focus you energy to help meet the future state objectives.
  4. Address the identified Gaps during the Develop Strategic Roadmap phase: Once the gap is analyzed and there is a clear identification of where energy should be focused, the Strategic Roadmap can be developed to identify the change needed to remove the gap between the current state and the desired future state.

While the gap analysis is a key tool, it is also an input to the roadmap development. Following the roadmap during implementation will assure that the analyzed gaps are addressed while meeting the desired future performance objectives. In our next and final blog, we will explain the Strategic Roadmap as a process engineering power tool.