What is Process Management?

Business Process Management is a collection of techniques, skills, tools and methods used to manage and control a business process within a large organisation pr a large system. The term process management is commonly used in business analysis, productivity studies or when a system is being engineered or re-engineered.

It covers how we study, identify improvements, change and finally monitor a business process to ensure that it runs smoothly and can be improved, if required, over time. Business Process Management (BPM) can be best described as a business practice, encompassing various techniques and structured methods.

Successfully deploying BPM usually involves the following:

  • Organising the processes around outcomes and not tasks to ensure proper focus is maintained
  • Making corrections or improvements in the processes before automating them; else all you would do is make the mess run faster.
  • Establishing the processes and assigning ownership to people. (to ensure that improvements do not simply drift away.
  • Standardising the processes across the organisation to ensure it is readily understood and managed, errors are reduced and risks mitigated.
  • Enable continuous change to ensure improvements over extended time frame.
  • Improve existing processes rather than designing new ones.

BPM should not be a one time exercise. It should instead be a continuous evaluation of processes and taking action to improve the ones which have scope of improvement.

The steps involved in BPM are:

  • Analyse
  • Redesign or remodel
  • Implement
  • Monitor
  • Manage
  • Automate

BPM requires a great attention to detail, excellent communication skils (both verbal and written), analysis skills and ability to meet the hard but specific requirements of the project. It involves documenting the current process as it is, evaluating the time taken and level of efforts put in. It also involves an analysis of efficiency, the bottlenecks and the overall process costs.

By a complete and thoughtful review of all the steps of a business process, it is possible to save significant money and resources across the organization. In many cases, individual unit ignores such inefficiencies as small and inconsequential. However, if we look at such inefficiencies across the entire organization, they can result in significant cost reduction and increased efficiency.

At the start the first step is the review of the existing process. This usually includes reading the operationing manual which may also be called Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), speaking with the staff which is working on the process or supervising it, and observing activities. It is very common to find that the actual process varies from the written steps. This is often due to out of date manuals, or failure of the manual to truly capture all the steps and their implications.

Process Management also involves doing a time & motion study. Observing staff is one way to determine the time required for each step in a process. Another way is to simply measure the time required to complete an entire process and determine the average time for each step. The most effective way is to actually spend a short period of time in each role.

Being on the production floor, both services and well as manufacturing, quickly highlights the issues, strengths and weaknesses of the current process. It also provides an opportunity for staff to see a commitment to really understand the process, and may generate more discussions. Talk to the staff and supervisors to really understand their ideas and see where improvements can be made.

BPM is a technique that highly recommended for the SME sector across the world since they would gain great benefit out of the improvements, cost reduction and increased efficiency.

Vikas has been working on BPM projects for services industry and would be glad to work with your organisation to help you improve your triple bottom line. Let us work together to improve people, planet and profit for your organisation.

For any questions or suggestions please feel free to contact me. I would do my best to reply within 2 days.

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