The ESSA Approach:
Removing Redundancies, Eliminating Waste

It is essential that organisations focus on removing redundancies and eliminating waste within its processes to ensure that entities operate at an optimal level of efficiency. The ESSA (Eliminate, Standardise, Simplify and Automate) Approach developed by PEMANDU Associates provides an effective framework for organisations intending to conduct this optimisation exercise.

Summary of ESSA (Eliminate Simplify Standardise Automate) Approach

Key Benefits of the ESSA Approach

The versatility of the ESSA Approach means that it can be applied to any organisation, within any industry. Successful application of the ESSA Approach would result in positive outcomes to a business, including:

1. Increase in profitability:

  • Reduces the workload, which enables the business to provide more goods and services to more customers.
  • Increases revenue by enabling the organisation to do more with less such as marketing, selling, manufacturing and providing more of what customers want with fewer resources.

2. Reduction in cost:

  • Removing “waste” from processes. Getting rid of activities that aren’t required, thus making costs cheaper to meet customer expectations.
  • Solving problems proactively. Relying less on costly inspect-and-rework cycles and switching to defect “prevention” by resolving product and service issues at the root.

3. Improvement in efficiency:

  • Reallocating valuable resources. Reclaiming resources and revenue from newly streamlined processes means more available resources to grow the business.
  • Increase valuable time for other planned initiatives within the organization.
  • Solving process problems results in fewer defects, shorter lead times and better personnel and customer experience.

4. Enhanced people engagement & morale:

  • Engages employees in improving the way they work.
  • Encourages employees to find and remove problems and waste.
  • Team participants build a sense of ownership. Involvement of organizational personnel in problem solving results in teams that are accountable to each other and to the organization.

ESSA Applies to Any Organisation

Process redundancies are faced by almost all organisations. These directly impact the overall bottom-line and productivity of the organisation.

PEMANDU Associates’ ESSA approach is designed to achieve:

  • Manpower rationalisation. To free up existing manpower for new initiatives
  • Improve processing time for existing processes
  • Cost rationalisation. Effective expenditure for similar activities

Case for Change:

The Company has been spending over 100,000 man-days for tender process, report preparation and audit-related visits annually. This is equivalent to 385 man-years.

During the Lab process, our team went through a total of 927 reports totalling 67,869 man-days with relevant stakeholders across the Company.

PEMANDU Associates applied the following 8-step ESSA approach:


Summary of ESSA Approach Application for a Global Palm Oil Company

ESSA Approach:

Through PEMANDU Associates’ ESSA Approach and the Lab methodology, the Company was able to effectively establish robust initiatives with granular implementation strategies. These would result in an overall 61% improvement of man-days when implemented successfully. The engagement successfully designed 18 initiatives which contributed to tangible savings in man-days across 3 clearly defined workstreams.

Case for Change:

  • The Company was a loss-making entity for over 20 years and was originally set up as a joint venture between a private company and a Government institution.
  • Being a Government company meant that the Company inherited many Government processes and procedures that made the company highly bureaucratic and slow.
  • The company did not implement a performance culture. High performing employees were not rewarded whilst non-performers were not penalized.
  • The employees’ morale was low as the companies had brought in many consultants and introduced countless initiatives to help improve the business with no results to show. This caused new initiatives to be met with huge resistance from the employees.

ESSA Approach:

  • PEMANDU Associates conducted an ESSA Exercise to reduce unnecessary work associated with redundant and unproductive activities, so that more focus can be given efforts that would improve profitability.
  • The target of the ESSA Exercise was to reduce man-days spent on Reports, Audit/Visits and Tender Processes by 80%. This would enable the company to have all activities have a direct impact on the financial bottom-line.

Critical Success Factors

For the ESSA approach to successfully realize the targets set as part of your organisation’s vision, PEMANDU Associates advocates that strong leadership from top management is critical.

We believe that the following are the key leadership ingredients that will drive the successful accomplishment of ESSA approach:

Pursue the Game of Impossible:
  • Set Olympic targets.
  • Conquer the fear of failure.
  • Create a game so large, so it will consume the team.
Anchoring on the True North
  • Decompose the recommendations / projects / initiatives into details.
  • Make each member accountable to the detailed line items as numbers do not lie.
Ruthless Decision Making
  • Bold decision making – if processes / reports / audits need to be eliminated, eliminate them.
  • Do not hesitate, and if required, embark on improvements later.
Remove Risk Aversion
  • Enable the leadership team to manage and even remove any resistance to change.