Business Process Improvement (BPI) is a practice used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a business process by documenting, analyzing, and redesigning a process. Business processes are the foundation in which organizations run and they define how certain tasks are done. Implementing process improvement encourages smoother operations, more efficient workflows, happier employees and customers and promotes compliance. In this article, I describe the 5 basic steps to conducting a process improvement project.
1. “AS-IS” Process Mapping
Meet with key process stakeholders to conduct “AS-IS” process mapping sessions and create process maps that underline current efficiencies or inefficiencies. Incorporate any feedback from the key stakeholders and finalize the process maps.
2. Process Map Data Gathering
Gather data to supply a basis for process quality, timeliness and customer satisfaction. Data could be gathered from existing reports or subject matter expert estimations. The process data should then be populated on to the process map(s). Then work with key stakeholders toe stablish the data-oriented process performance improvement goals (e.g. reduce errors, reduce process time, increase customer satisfaction).
3. Stakeholder Focus Groups
Conduct one-on-one and/or group interviews to determine the areas with the greatest opportunities for improvement based upon the established process improvement goals.
4. Compile Opportunities for Improvement
Compile and categorize the opportunities for improvement. Then meet with the project manager and project sponsor to share current project results and align remaining direction and likely actions with process improvement goals.
5. Develop Recommendations
Work with all stakeholder groups to identify there commendations that will meet the process improvement performance goals identified. Next, categorize the recommendations so that project teams can be assigned to flesh out and implement the recommendations.
Key Benefits of Process Improvement
Below are some of the potential benefits of conducting a process improvement project.
Business process improvement can facilitate the automation of a lot of repetitive steps within a process. Process improvements like the elimination of redundant steps, removal of bottlenecks and the introduction of parallel process are often incorporated into the revised version of the process map. These improvement sallow employees to spend more time on other activities. This translates into increased productivity and reduced waste.
Employees get frustrated doing process that are tedious, time consuming or error prone –processes that sap critical working hours and brainpower. Optimized processes free up employee time that can then be used to focus on the most critical and engaging job functions, thus increasing their satisfaction.
An optimized process by definition is one that delivers a high-quality result in a timely and efficient manner. Ultimately, these are the things that customers(internal or external) want and therefore drive customer satisfaction.
Government organizations need to be compliant with government regulations. Optimizing your business ensures that you are able to meet the regulatory deadlines and avoid penalties for delays or not meeting quality standards.
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