If you are responsible for managing a business or organization of any type, you have undoubtedly sought out opportunities to make things run more smoothly and efficiently. It's only natural. This means that responsible owners and managers are continually looking for opportunites to optimize their business processes.
How about some free advice?
First of all, let's be clear about what it is we're referring to when we use the term 'business process'. In short, a business process is defined as a collection of linked tasks which can find their end in the delivery of a service or product to a client. It has also been defined as a set of activities and tasks that - once completed - will accomplish an organizational goal.
Any business (regardless of how poorly it may be run) employs some type of business process. Some are clearly better than others.
What we refer to as Business Process Management (BPM) can be defined as the set of techniques employed to map the flow of information and communication between various business assets and departments, identify opportunities for improvement, and establish and enforce rules to optimize the process moving forward. These techniques can (and should) be employed continually.
A BPM system can provide any company with several measurable benefits:
- The ability to identify otherwise unknown inefficiencies
- Reduced downtime and cost associated with wasted time and material
- The ability to connect processes over multiple facilities and or operations
- Automation of repeated and/or predictable tasks
- Establishment of a program for continual improvement
These benefits are very attainable. Provided you use the right tools and follow a simple procedure, anyone can realize the improved efficiency and reduced waste that BPM systems provide. And what is the correct procedure? In very simple terms:
- Analyze Current Processes
Create a business process map to paint a clear picture of the current flow of information between different business assets. Use this map to uncover inefficiencies and establish a preferred methodology.
- Establish and Enforce New Rules
Define rules for how you would like information to flow, and create workflow tasks to automate tasks or send automatic notifications to people that need to be involved in enforcing the new rules.
- Implement, Train, Rinse and Repeat
Once the new process is clearly defined and automated, ensure that all parties are fully trained and equipped to adhere to these new rules moving forward. You can create custom dashboards to track real-time data, create a centralized knowledge base that is shared and continually updated, and use automated real-time notifications to be sure that everyone is always aware of the current state of the process. Finally, ensure that your new process is fully repeatable and scalable to allow for continual evaluation and improvement.
Seems pretty simple, right? It can be when you combine your innate understanding of your business process with the right tools.
**Learn more about some of the data acquisition and visualization technology the empowers Business Process Management at http://scada.com