Business Process Improvement (BPI) is an approach designed to help organizations redesign their existing business operations to accomplish significant improvement in production. Effective BPI helps to generate promising results in operational efficiency and customer focus.
BPI, when implemented by means of a structured methodology, helps companies to reduce their operational costs and cycle time, enhance customer service and improve the quality of their products or services.
Because BPI implementation is a project, all project management principles apply. This ensures well-organized improvement processes without any conflicts. The steps are as follows:
- Define the existing processes and structure in the organization.
- Identify the outcomes that would add value in achieving the organization’s objectives and the best ways to align the organization’s processes to achieve these outcomes.
- Reorganize the workforce in the organization based on the desired outcomes by means of the various tools available in the BPI process.
Businesses Process Improvement Projects have become a common tool for Organizations to help review their business operational processes from time to time and to bring about necessary improvements. Organizations as well as their processes as well as their markets, customers and products keep changing. In current times, technology is playing vital role in the way Organizations operate. Reliance on people has been replaced with automation. All of the operational processes are now system driven and seamlessly integrated bringing together all the functions and departments to function seamlessly as one unit. Organizations have to watch out for new trends in the product and market that is relevant to them, and adapt themselves to the new business requirements as well as technology be it on Product development side or on the Operational process side. The time available for Organizations to change with the times is very short. Besides, the only way to improve efficiency of operations and ensure control over costs of operation is to continually keep improving processes and adapting technology wherever possible. Organizations therefore embrace quality systems, standards and BPI processes to bring about desired changes in their processes and improve quality of operations.
We can very well state that quality is an attitude of the Organization and its management. Those managements that value quality embrace it as one of the founding principles to build their Organization, processes and products. Similarly BPI projects too can be successfully implemented in the Organizations only when they are owned by the Organizational leadership or management.
Business Process Improvement projects when sponsored by the Business Unit heads enjoy the credibility in the Organization and pave way for successful implementation. The managers and the management have an important role to play in identifying the business critical processes that need to be improved, in providing resources and investments for the project and to remove the obstacles and hindrances that are likely to arise during the project implementation.
Apart from the management and its role, the success of the project is also dependent upon the Process Implementation Team. For the successful implementation, it is necessary to form a task force taking members from all of the functions or the concerned process which is being reviewed. Selection of candidate would need to be done on the basis of the skills sets, the attitude and the leadership of the candidate as well as the current work profile of the candidate. Only those candidates who have the desired skill set in abstract reasoning, logical thinking and leadership capabilities. More importantly these members chosen would have to have the attitude to work as a team member too. It is these PIT members who will have the detailed process knowledge of their respective areas and thus will be able to contribute to the process improvement and more importantly play a key role in implementing the newly designed process.
Once selected, the PIT members would need additional training to be able to start with the project. First and foremost they would need to be trained in BPI concept and methodology. Further they would need to be trained in some of the basic problem saving and team working concepts and tools including Team dynamics, Brain Storming techniques, Data collection and analysis methods, usage of charts and graphs etc. Detailed training in 7 Quality Control tools including Statistical Controls, Histograms, Pareto Diagrams, Scatter Diagrams and Fish Bone or Cause and Effect diagrams, Force field analysis and Mind Map techniques and other techniques that would need to be used in the project.
The Organizations which understand the cost of quality and embrace quality as one of their basic foundations to build the Organization build a work culture and processes which calls for using Quality and Statistical tools in the daily operations. In such situations, the employees would have already undergone training and be used to using the QC tools. In such Organizations, implementing BPI Projects can be faster and easier than in cases where the techniques have to be first learn and practiced by the PIT Team members before embarking on the BPI Project implementation.