Business process management is a real challenge for most organizations.
Processes are simply the heart of a company and the work that is carried out here, they exist in every department and team and are fundamental to the outcome of operations.
Business processes can be considered as a map that defines the paths and the flow of activities that take place within and between different business functions.
However, moving from point “A” to point “B” along these paths, and doing so as efficiently as possible, is often a great challenge.
It takes time, resources and good planning. It is also important to ensure that the processes are robust and the work runs smoothly.
What is business process optimization and what are its benefits?
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The optimization of business processes is the procedure that allows to increase organizational efficiency by improving processes.
Optimized processes lead to optimized business objectives.
Some examples of optimization are:
- Lifting of dismissals
- Workflow simplification
- Improved communication
Every organization, in any industry, is in constant competition, regularly facing threats coming from other companies, disruptive technologies and changes in standards.
The optimization of business processes offers many benefits that can help organizations to stay afloat while facing big waves of change, through:
- Market compliance
- Optimized operations
- Reduced risks
- Good use of resources
- Guaranteed quality
- End-to-end visibility
What are the steps for implementing the optimization of business processes?
Planning is key to getting the most out of your business process optimization efforts.
Below is a brief, detailed guide to implementing a process optimization plan.
Choose a challenging process that you want to optimize and then set its purpose and objectives.
Is the process achieving its intended goals? Is there any surplus that must be reduced?
Once the unnecessary elements are taken out, the revised process is automated in its new form.
How to optimize your business processes
As already mentioned, there can be many different ways to perform business process optimization.
This, of course, depends on the process at hand: there is not a solution that is suitable for all individual scenarios.
Process improvement or rebuilding
This is rather straightforward: all you need is a good analysis of each stage of the process.
The general concept is to identify the processes or steps that are:
- A waste: every step within a process should, in some way, add some value to the final goal. The process itself should add value to the context of the organizational objectives. Sometimes, however, you may find that certain steps or processes are actually useless and lacking any kind of value.
- An inefficiency or a factor that can be improved: This means that a step or process is not as efficient as it could be. Approval processes within an organization, for example, often tend to fall into this category because they are slow and complex.
Once the processes or steps that fall into these categories have been identified, it is only necessary to improve them to achieve efficiency.
Nobody likes manual work and, sometimes, there are instances where what you are doing could very well be replaced by a robot working automatically.
In this case all you have to do is find the right tool or software.
Automating business processes can thus help to get rid of any unnecessary manual work from employees’ workload, which leads to increased productivity and morale.
Here is a common example:
If you consider the customer service industry, there is probably a customer support form available on the web page in almost every company.
Let’s assume that because of a product update, 10% of customers start to experience a defect.
It is therefore likely that the customer service inbox will begin be busy.
In such cases, a software that can automatically send a response based on the user’s complaint could lighten the workload of the customer service staff and they can gain valuable time to handle the most complicated requests.
Adoption of new technology and complete process modification
Adopting the right technology can indeed change the way you work.
Unlike the first two options, this solution does not exactly optimize a process, but rather changes it completely.
For example, to manage daily tasks that need to be performed within an organization, the management, instead of using an Excel spreadsheet, may decide to use a new task management software.
This helps you remember due dates through automatic messages and notifications, create new tasks and assign them to employees automatically (rather than sending an email), automatically track workflows, monitor and analyze tasks more quickly and accurately, etc.
Bottom line, optimizing a business process requires more effort than simply purchasing new software.
The optimization of business processes requires the planning and the identification of the process that requires optimization and definition of objectives and goals.
This will then make it possible to estimate the current state of the process to determine its performance and unnecessary or inefficient factors.
Afterwards, the revised procedure must be implemented after eliminating unwanted elements and, last but not least, the performance of the process must be carefully monitored and the necessary changes made until the desired results are achieved.