With an existing Business Process plan, there might be a need for revaluations, fixtures, and revamps due to reduced efficiency. Business Process Improvement or BPI is defined as structures and techniques to enhance the current business process techniques’ output.
These procedures target the system’s loopholes and make the required amends to improve the workflow and increase production levels.
The improvements can be made in two types of business process portfolios.
The formal processes, known as procedures, are documented legally, and amendments in these are easy.
On the other hand, informal business processes refer to customized, undocumented practices of carrying out research, conducting meetings, etc.
The improvement techniques targeting these procedures are comparatively more complex.
What is Business Process Improvement or BPI?
BPI revolves around-
- Reducing the processing time
- Improving output quality
- Cutting out waster
As the machinery, technology, and methods are improving; there should be an advancement in the business processes. The business process should be accurate, and only then can the product be successful in the competitive market.
All the sectors and employees need to work by coordinating with each other. This will ensure an increase in the organization’s efficiency, thus earning them the right spot in the market.
Business Process Improvement targets three broad categories of business processes:
1. Operational Business Process
Business processes concerned with value streams, like customer accounts, manufacturing, shipping, etc.
2. Management of Business Process
Business processes involving Communication and Budgeting.
3. Supporting Business Process
Business processes are taken care of by the support teams, like accounting, recruitment, technical assistance, etc.
Thus, although there is no set definition to explain these complex improvement techniques, it can be understood as methods of damage control, accuracy optimization, and efficiency boost.
Business Process Improvement caters to fixtures via mapping the business process, looking for the inefficiencies, redesigning the business process, and setting new matrices accordingly.
Importance of Business Process Improvement
The business processes are supposed to help the company work better.
So the business process improvement techniques ensure that the product or service is doing well in the market and making improvements as per market trends and change in demands.
Businesses opt for BPI to reduce the time that a business takes in completing any process. It is used for eliminating waste and friction from the business processes.
BPI is useful in improving the quality of the products or services. It is also helpful in ensuring compliance with rules and regulations in a much better manner to optimize users’ fulfillment.
Goals of Business Process Improvement
These techniques help revive the faults in the existing business process by analyzing the threats, reviewing them in detail, and improving the existing business practices. It is done with the help of technicalities and tried and tested methods of improvement.
The three main goals of BPIs can be narrowed down as follows:
1. Reduce the processing time
This is achieved by applying improvement techniques that target cutting down unwanted steps and adopting newer technology.
2. Improve the Output quality
These techniques improve the output quality by looking for defects that negatively affect the end-product. The errors in production are corrected, and the new output is produced with limited resources.
3. Cut out the unwanted waste
The workflow is reviewed, and the unwanted processes are eliminated from the list. The team works better on adding more value to production if they no longer focus on redundant and time-consuming business processes.
Steps involved in BPI
Although there exist multiple BPI techniques, the route they take can be traced along a common pathway. The results might be subjective, catering to the individual business needs, but the steps are mostly as follows:
Before figuring out what is wrong with the existing business process, it is crucial to understand how it works. Sitting down to jot down your business’s nuances can help have a bird-eye view of the processes. Only then can the flaws be detailed.
Mapping can be done either manually or using workflow software. The latter ensures a complete analysis of accountability and productivity through automated procedures, so the errors are reduced.
This step will help figure out the pros and cons. If the initial step is done correctly, the remaining part of the business process will work smoothly. Identifying the problems is a must as it will allow improvement.
Any software or a simple flow chart is enough for the survey. So focus on the basics and look for the problematic aspects by using conventional tools.
It involves answering the 5 Whys about your business.
It implies analyzing the targeted problem at hand, like why are the company’s sales down, and going ahead with the complete analysis of the issue.
Are there redundant processes being employed? Are there missed deadlines? What can improve the quality of the production in restricted resources? These are a few essential questions that analyzing business processes can answer.
You can also use the famous ‘5 Whys’ technique for analyzing the business process.
These questions will not just lead you to the root cause. This tool is pretty simple to implement. All you have to do is take a problem and apply the ‘why’ question five times.
When you reach the basics of the problem, you know the initial reason that led to the subsequent changes.
Once the inefficiencies are known, the next set of best practices have to be deployed. It requires redesigning the requirements to have an efficient mode of improvement.
Performing risk-analysis, setting a long-term matrix, and defining the scope of change falls under redesigning.
Every business has its own set of drawbacks that might hinder the existing business process. So the redesigning step is a practical approach towards problem-solving. The best way is by having a proper discussion with the employees associated with that business process.
The redesigning has to be done by analyzing future aspects and risk management. You should have an approximate idea of what the solution would lead to.
This is the most critical stage of Business Process Improvement. The redesigned practices have to be implemented now, with cure and caution.
The implementation should start at a smaller level first and gradually applied to the more significant projects.
All the right resources should be acquired, and the stakeholders should be informed about the change of procedure.
5. Reflection and Setting New Benchmarks
Even after the new improvement techniques are in place, it is essential to conduct performance analysis.
BPI is a continuous process, and there can always be new additions to the existing to the revamped set of business processes.
After you implement specific changes, the business process may show reduced efficiency. So reviewing is essential as it will help to monitor the effects.
After the application of strategy, your work does not end here. Be in contact with the employees who are responsible for that particular process.
When you get the feedback, alternatives to the problem can be figured out.
Commonly Employed BPI methods
Rather than hitting an arrow in the dark, it is always advised to have a structured framework to take cautious steps to improve existing business practices.
The famous methodologies employed to execute BPI are:
1. Total Quality Management
This methodology found its course in the late 1980s. The TQM technique’s priority is to deliver a high-end, right quality product to the customer at the end of the chain.
It targets the improvement in the organization as a whole rather than picking up faults in individual processes.
It works on the mantra that the customer is the king, and all the business departments should function on this value.
2. Six Sigma
The engineers of Motorola first discovered this technique. It is used to perfect the quality of the end-product by picking on the processes on the way.
It is used as a measure to find out the efficiency of any new business process adopted. The defects cannot go more than 3-4 in number if Six Sigma is applied.
It adopts the DMAIC toolkit, being Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control.
Lean does not focus on the end-product. Instead, it aims at optimizing the process itself. It was first employed by Toyota to reduce the order-to-cash cycle.
It aims to find a suitable replacement for an existing faulty business process by mapping and redesigning.
It is about how the product’s value can be improved, thus satisfying the needs of the customer. Here the employee satisfaction and business profit is also a priority.
The processes are made efficient by eradicating unwanted resources, hence cutting the extra cost. The final product remains the same, but the resource wastage is reduced.
4. Agile Management
Agile management used in BPL revolves around implementations of Agile Software Development principles for different project management processes.
Agile principles are used to find out different requirements and develop solutions with the help of the collaborative effort of self-organizing and cross-functional teams and their customers or the end-users.
The process of agile management advocates adaptive planning along with evolutionary development, continual improvement, and early delivery. It further plays a crucial role in channelizing flexible responses to change.
Final Thoughts about Business Process Improvement!
On the concluding note, we hope the above mentioned BPI methodologies for improving the existing processes would have helped you understand the role of Business Process Improvement.
After familiarizing oneself with the theoretical aspect of it, only a practical application can best serve the purpose of resolving individual loopholes.
Invest in the Business Process Improvement and Workflow Management simultaneously to lead your firm on the path of calculated prosperity!
Now, we would like to hear your Business Process Improvement definition after going through this post!
Also, in case of any doubts about choosing the right BPI methodologies for your business, feel free to ask us in the comment section below.