A Guide for Traveling Down the Path of Business Process Improvement

A Guide for Traveling Down the Path of Business Process Improvement

In today’s technology-driven world, the business landscape constantly evolves. Whether it’s a CRM solution to help manage customers or an ERP platform to enhance an accounting package, new technologies keep emerging.  

However, for a business to stay at the forefront of innovation, it’s not just a matter of updating software. It also requires analyzing business processes to find inefficiencies and areas of opportunity. While this may seem simple, many businesses rely on processes that have not evolved in some time.

As a result, inefficiencies have evolved. And the time it takes to work through those inefficiencies becomes more consuming and costly. Instead of letting your business processes cause you to fall behind, it could be time to work on identifying what processes could be enhanced through business process improvement, aka BPI.

Begin by Breaking Down Your Processes

When you begin to evaluate your business for where you can improve, it helps to break down your various processes into three different categories:

  • Operational—core business processes, primarily pertaining to customers, active accounts and manufacturing.
  • Management—employee oversight, governance and finance processes, such as budgeting.
  • Support—as you may have guessed, this category includes processes that support other business functions, such as accounting, IT and HR.

Once you identify which processes need improvement and what category they fit into, you have Defined the Problem. This is the first step in a process improvement strategy, called DMAIC.

Outlining Your BPI Initiative

While DMAIC is a part of the Six Sigma initiative, it can also be used as a tool in outlining a business process improvement initiative. The acronym DMAIC breaks down as follows:

Define the problem, opportunity for improvement, the goals for the project and the requirements…

  • What core business processes are involved?
  • What are the expectations for the project?
  • Who are the internal or external parties involved in the process?

Measure the process performance…

  • Develop a plan to collect data.
  • Collect data from several sources to determine all the gaps and opportunities.
  • Measure the current capability of the process to meet the specific needs of the process.

Analyze to determine the cause of the poor performance and identify opportunities…

  • Identify gaps between current process performance and the process performance goal.
  • Prioritize the opportunities to improve.
  • Identify the sources of variation.

Improve the process by designing solutions to fix and prevent gaps from being a further burden…

  • Design the future state to project the expected outcome.
  • Choose and implement the solution to meet the outcome.
  • Measure improvement in the process to determine if it meets expectations.

Control the improved processes and future process performance…

  • Have a quality control plan to document what is needed to maintain the improved process.
  • Pass the improved process onto those who will work with it.
  • Work to create a mistake-proof plan to eliminate the possibility of errors.

Working through all this information can be overwhelming for an organization trying to navigate day-to-day operations at the same time. This is where ATX can help.

We have a strong understanding of what it takes to define, measure, analyze, improve and control your business processes. Do not let business process improvement become a daunting task for your company; let us guide you down the path of successful Business Process Improvement.

Author: Trey Binette

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