Improve Operational Efficiencies and Business Metrics by Improving Business Processes

Published: 30th March 2010
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When it comes to new management methods and the companies and consultants that promote them, you could be excused for thinking that someone sits around thinking up different terms and acronyms. There's BPI for Business Process Improvement, another BPI for Business Process Intelligence, BPM for Business Process Management, another BPM for Business Process Mapping and so on. It can be downright confusing. This actually works to the advantage of some firms as far as their marketing approaches. For the leading firms in the field, it simply means another challenge for educating the business community.

There really is a method and meaning behind the terminology, which at its best describes entirely valid ways of improving business processes. So the first rule if you are going to be investigating BPI, Business Process Improvement, is to stick with a leading firm that has a track record, one that has fully, accurately defined for you what its BPI program does. This will narrow the field for you considerably, as there are companies that do little more than recycle jargon and model their systems on those of the leading companies. When you do your homework, you will see who is out front in this area, and you can go from there. First, however, a few tips on what to look for.

Change is hard
If you are not getting the insight you need into your business, you won't be able to react to the changing economic landscape or make moves that will take you forward. The last thing you need is to keep doing things the way you've done them before, particularly if your firm has stopped growing or can't meet projections. Watch out for complacency as one of the culprits, as it can signify inbred inefficiencies or obsolescence. There are other things to keep an eye out for that point to your need for BPI.

If you are having issues with uncontrolled overtime, clogged paperwork flows, quality control of your products, wasted time searching for information and/or rising costs of doing business, these are indications you need BPI tools and expertise. Of course, with the pace of business in the 21st century, just staying afloat sometimes seems to be a full-time job, leaving no time to consider, much less implement, any improvements to your business operations. Continuing inefficiencies and reliance on inaccurate business metrics are par for the course for many firms, as managers think they cannot pause even for a moment without falling into some kind of black hole.

Previous efforts failed
Even when you have devoted time, talent and other resources to improving processes within your company, instituting various changes with employees' input as part of a complete management review, nothing will change without total cooperation of the workforce. There are many employees, including managers and executives, that are resistant to change, and products, technologies and corporate goals can be moving forward while internal operations and processes lag behind. This eventually leads to the loss of congruence in the firm, a loss of focus, that results in reduce profits. The difficulties of human psychology cannot be discounted in the BPI formula, but many firms leave these considerations out of their new management plans.

This points up the problem of limited perspective. By partnering with a BPI leader, one that provides important and objective analysis of the vital areas of your firm requiring improvement, you increase by many orders of magnitude your chances of introducing new methods and processes. More importantly, you will learn how to overcome inertia and resistance with BPI methods that make every stakeholder in the firm a part of the solution. This is often impossible to do because of the habitual thinking and behavior that can interfere with creative problem solving in any kind of company, in any industry, of any size.

How BPI experts can help
When objective professionals can review all areas of your firm, including everything from planning and goal-setting to infrastructure systems and individual functions, you will get feedback that is often surprising. With an objective report, you can define what the most important ingredients of success are in your company, and then have the business metrics, both accurate and timely, to chart courses of action. Most leading BPI firms want to answer the same few questions:

What opportunities exist for reengineering, streamlining or refocusing a particular process in a way that increases its value for operational efficiency, the product itself or customers?

Are processes defined and clearly communicated to company employees? Do employees understand all of the whys and wherefores of the company operation?

What system is currently in place to manage processes, and is it applied consistently across corporate areas?

Finding the answers to these and other questions will help you determine the actual steps you need to take in regard to BPI tools and expertise. The benefits to improving processes are tremendous, including cost reductions and increased productivity. If you can't see how that can be, then you really do need to get hold of a leading BPI provider and open your eyes to new possibilities.As the process improvement (BPM) trailblazer, moves enterprises beyond ordinary BPM with groundbreaking business-critical software, solutions, and services that make them more competitive, agile and cost-efficient in today's tough economic times. Visit online today.

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