Our Services – Business Process Improvement

Business Process Improvement

Why map business processes?

We use process maps to ‘tell the story’ of the operation we are looking at, and then to help describe how to make it work better. This is widely known as Business Process Improvement.

As most people prefer pictorial visualisation of concepts, we can tell the story using the process map in the form of a flow chart or flow diagram.

Process mapping also allows us to structure the story in chunks that can be better represented, understood and evaluated. In the same way as a book is structured into the book concept (title), the associated volumes (often only one), its sections, chapters and paragraphs, the flow of work through an organisation is equally represented by its business units, its regions, departments, functions, processes, procedures (work instructions), forms / templates / other information artefacts, and finally its data fields.

Our Capabilities

  • Process mapping, process analysis, process redesign, process standardisation
  • Business Process Management
  • Process Improvement
  • Process cost and FTE analysis
  • High level Business Requirements definition

The Tools we use

  • Facilitated workshops
  • Process mapping and modeling tools (eg BizAgi Modeler, Holocentric Modeler),
  • Workflow simulation software.

Our Approach

Establishing a common language

In our experience, the best approach to Business Process Improvement is from a ‘big picture’ perspective, i.e., gaining an understanding of which processes are involved, and which business units / roles / locations participate.

However, we routinely encounter the challenge of ensuring all stakeholders understand the concept of ‘process’ in the same way. The Finance Director may regard Accounts Payable as a process (they’d be right). The Accounts Payable Officer may regard capture and General Ledger coding of a Supplier Invoice as a process (they’d be equally right). The question is; how to standardise the definition of ‘a process’?

At the end of a few days, the resulting Process Inventory standardises the identification, naming and classification of business processes in a simple yet universal way, which facilitates the mapping and analysis in subsequent Business Process Improvement phases.

Mapping the existing processes

No Business Process Improvement recommendation or solution is complete without knowing the ‘baseline’ of the current business processes in detail, clearly depicting activities, Roles, hand-off points and systems currently being used. The maps clearly define the trigger events for each process, the sequence of activities, the relationship between each Role identified in a process, and the activities for which they are responsible, any ‘scenario pathways’ and decision conditions for alternative processing of work through the process, all the decision-support ‘artefacts’ within the process (for example, policies, procedures, forms / templates, business rules, reference guides, etc), and the end conditions or hand-off points to subsequent or parallel processes.

Identifying the Obstacles

This is where we build a clear picture of the process effectiveness ‘weak spots’, those where the rigour of the process is insufficient to ensure the quality of the outcome required by the organisation, and also the process ‘choke points’, those where the process slows down unacceptably. We will establish reasons for these.

Typical activities and deliverables would include a review of the potential to maximise use of current systems, how any gaps are currently being addressed by virtue of workarounds, alternative systems, and imminent system enhancements. In addition, we’d undertake a comparison of the current processes performance against the requirements for the processes as defined by the ‘performance yardsticks’ supplied by a suitable Reference Team. We may also classify these process gaps (‘critiques’) into policy-, people-, process- and technology-related obstacles, and description of their high level impacts.

Defining the future processes

This is where we workshop with appropriate participants the redesign required to address the critiques identified in each ‘As Is’ process map, and thus define the ‘To Be’ process map. Detailing the implementation of business process change requires in-depth analysis to define the future (‘To Be’) processes in detail, though process re-design, business requirement definition, stakeholder agreement, and road mapping for implementation. This is how Business Process Improvement starts to take tangible shape.

Defining future high level business requirements

Business Process Improvement won’t ever happen unless the specific changes are defined and communicated. This is where we define the specific Requirements to enable the future processes, aligning these with current (and any intended future) system capabilities, and validation of requirements with internal IT, and the adjustment of system solutions required and / or ‘To Be’ process maps.

Commencing the change – Quick Wins Campaign

Is usually unwise to wait for the entire roadmap for change to emerge. As a way of demonstrating management commitment to change, these are any single initiative that can be implemented within a very short (often 2-3 week) time frame. They serve to galvanise the organisation into ‘making things different around here’, and start to habituate it to the culture of continuous improvement.

Road mapping the Change Journey

Business Process Improvement can have a significant impact on people, policies, process and technology; It is invariably complicated and challenging to implement and often has many unintended consequences.

Our approach is to reduce the level of uncertainty through the use of quantitative assessment for the basis of prioritisation and key decision making. By relying on tangible facts and measurable indicators helps the recommendation process and ensures a balanced approach to what changes are implemented.

Some Recent Examples

A few of our clients who have recently undertaken Business Process Improvement work with us:

CRA Logo
B&D Doors
Cancer Institute of NSW
Austcor Packaging
University of New South Wales
Victorian Institute of Teaching
Yara Pilbara Fertilizer
CoverMore Insurance
the ella centre

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