Significant and sustainable Business Process Improvement is achievable through a simple, standard methodology that can be taught to all employees and systematically deployed throughout the organization. When defining how to implement Business Process Improvement, assess your organization’s preparedness through the key considerations below.
Develop Project Goals and Plan.
Meaningful goals are essential to the completion of a successful project. They can range from cost reduction to revenue enhancement to regulatory compliance. Knowing what you want to accomplish is key to designing a project that achieves your desired outcome.
Select the Business System to Study.
All processes within a Business System should be studied as a single project to assess alignment and connectivity. Cause and effect relationships rarely exist within the same process.
Identify, Educate, and Engage Process Teams.
Process owners are the most essential element to a successful study of a business process and its improvement, and the viral spread of a continuous improvement culture. Those who do the work should be intimately involved in documenting and improving their work.
Develop Current State Process Maps.
The current state is a beginning snapshot, good, bad, and ugly, of how the process is executed. While there are a variety of process mapping methods available, the fundamentals remain the same. Every process map should define the suppliers, inputs, activities necessary to fulfill the process, outputs, and customers. The definition of process boundaries is a particularly important characteristic of process mapping.
Assess Connectivity and Alignment.
Business System alignment is an essential element of Business Process Improvement, where all Process Owners come together to evaluate their customer-supplier relationships. This leads Process Owners to find and fix the connectivity gaps between processes within the system or value stream.
Assess Customer Value.
The team should assess the Process Owner’s understanding of the primary process customer and, when validated with that customer, define the process output specifications that meet that customer’s need.
Perform Process Analysis.
Process analysis further informs the process improvement opportunities that may be pursued by the team.
Identify Process Improvement Opportunities.
The process team should identify the problems and improvement opportunities known to exist by process users. We commonly find 50 or more opportunities per process.
Define Process Metrics.
Business processes can be measured in several ways. The key to process measurement is designing good measures that evaluate the extent to which the process purpose is being met both effectively and efficiently, who is responsible, and how the process obtains feedback.
Redesign Business System.
The redesigned Business System is a vision of what processes might become were they able to reach potential. It defines what is attainable by the project team within the organization’s constraints of time and budget.
Develop Business System Improvement Plan.
The Business System Improvement Plan engages Process Owners with company leadership to define a system-level plan for sustainable business process improvement efforts that are aligned and prioritized.
Deploy the Business Process Improvement Plan.
A Business Process Improvement effort executed well should quickly morph into process monitoring. Process performance improvement should be monitored no less than monthly and problems and opportunities that have been resolved should be replaced by new problems and opportunities that are more challenging and deliver greater benefit when solved.
How to Implement Business Process Improvement
Business Process Improvement provides a methodology for defining a process, understanding how to identify improvement opportunities, how to design meaningful performance measures, how to analyze problems in a systematic way, the different tools used for problem-solving, how to implement process improvements, and ongoing monitoring of business process performance.