Here Is Why Your Company Needs Business Process Management and How to Start Implementing It

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Here’s the deal. In order to get ahead as a company, you need to constantly be looking for ways to improve your processes. If you don’t and your competition does, they will be able to lower operating costs, undercut your prices, offer better quality and improve its service. And down that way ruin lies.

The question really isn’t ‘do I improve my processes?’ but ‘how do I improve my processes?’ One fantastic way to answer that question is ‘with Business Process Management’ or BPM for short. This is a powerful tool which will make sure you’ll be able to keep all of your business operations running effectively, efficiently and smoothly.

Okay, But What Is Business Process Management?

You can think of it as a way to fine-tune your business engine. It’s the modelling, automation, execution, measurement and optimization of how you run your business. By doing this, you can make sure that you get the maximum returns for the effort, money and resources that you throw at a problem.

In other words, what it consists of is ways to analyze your current business practices and then find ways to improve those processes. But rather than doing this ad hoc, on the back of a paper napkin, while having a drink at the local bar this system is both more structured and more streamlined.

A good example of a company that has used BPM is McDonalds, who has taken the time to figure out how each action in its restaurant is best performed and done the most efficiently, so that they can deliver products at a fraction of the price of what other operators charge.

But of course, it isn’t just fast food where these systems will work. It is anywhere where you can create a process of steps that you can depend upon to get the job done. Two good examples are invoicing and contracts, where an efficient process can get them out of the door quickly and effectively. And that drop in paperwork will give you more time for other things.

What Can BPM Do for Me?

There are three main ways in which it can help your company. These are:

  1. Efficiency. BPM can really increase efficiency, mainly by finding areas where there is a lot of waste and cutting back on that. For example, you might become aware that because they aren’t specially marked, emails sent from one department to another languish in the inbox for hours before they’re dealt with.
  2. Effectiveness. Not just will it reduce the wasteful action, but it will also make you aware of steps you can take to deliver a better product. In the example above, once you specifically mark these important emails they can be bounced back and forth more quickly and therefore make for a better-quality end product.
  3. Agility. And finally, a good BPM will not just make the regular processes work better, but will give you more space to deal with exceptions or changes in how things are done. After all, as every idea has been inspected, it is easy to see how a change here or there will create the newly desired end product. 

Okay, So How Do I Implement It?

To make this process work, what you need to do is document the processes that you use in your company. To get the hang of things, start with a daily operation that isn’t too overwhelmingly big. Write down how it works. Then examine what you’ve documented and look for areas where you’re repeating certain actions, as well as where there might be bottlenecks that you need to eliminate.

Do not assume that automating everything will be the answer. Automation can certainly help. The only problem is that once something is automated, it can be very difficult to change it again. What’s more, automation isn’t always the most effective. And it’s probably better to pare down your operations and eliminate waste first, before you start the automation process.

Find the waste. These are not just the bottlenecks, but also where time is getting wasted. Perhaps one person can’t do something until another person finished their task. As a result, they’re left twiddling their thumbs. That’s obviously not useful. How can you better streamline their cooperation?

Keep assessing what you have. Once you’ve given your processes the one over, sit back and consider them at an abstract level. Sometimes the actual reason that certain actions get done gets lost in the paperwork. If you can take a step back and look at the whole process, you might be able to direct it more effectively. 

Rinse and Repeat

As is often the case, the best way to become better at systems like this is to practice them and learn from them. For that reason, don’t be afraid to revisit systems that you’ve worked out before and re-imagine them again to get more efficiency out of them.

It can even be worthwhile not to immediately execute the changes you’ve envisioned and instead sit on them for a while and then re-explore them. In this way, your employees won’t get hit again and again with changes but will only have to work through one set at a time. That will make you a lot fewer enemies! 

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