Five tips to manage workplace efficiency using BPM

To err is human. But it may not always be acceptable, and often comes with a hefty price. A single oops here and a slip up there can cause a hard blow to businesses. Did you know that NASA’s famous Mars Climate Orbiter satellite disintegrated causing a loss of $193 million and countless man-hours, just due to a simple human mistake in unit conversion? It is believed that their processes didn’t involve a step to ensure the units were consistently imperial or metric. 

In another example, an American technology corporation’s product company’s nearly 400 million customers experienced an average of 10.5 hours each of downtime. This was just because their engineer made an assumption and took a “shortcut” for a process, and it didn’t go well. 

How can any sobering outcomes in organizations be reduced or even eliminated? The answer lies in Business Process Management (BPM). BPM is a structured approach to identifying, evaluating, measuring, automating, and optimizing business processes to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and save time. There are various BPM tools or BPM software, available in the market, that help organizations with automation. 

Efficiency is not always about cost-effectiveness and fastness, but also about getting the processes executed consistently and rightly every time. 

Implementing BPM – Are you doing it right?

While BPM could be the best solution for process efficiency, it is important to follow some best practices and keep in mind a few tips for maximizing your BPM efforts. Below are some pointers:

Establish well-defined business rules 

Processes in any organization are governed by business rules, which contain the business policies, procedures, computations, constraints, and reasoning capability. These rules can be of the “if-then”, decision tables, and decision trees format. BPM software these days comes with a feature to integrate existing traditional rule-based engines or third-party applications of the organization. If your organization is large and contains complex processes like loan origination, faulty business rules can lead to non-compliance and misgovernance. Hence, it is important to establish the rules first. 

Double-check process workflows for integration

Integration is a major aspect of process automation. Consider “XYZ Enterprises”, a large organization that deals with several hundreds of processes, starting from recruiting candidates, onboarding clients, managing vendor contracts, managing client relationships, closing sales deals, generating invoices, accounting, handling customer complaints, and so on. With such a complex network of processes, employees or users might want to access more than one application at a time. For instance, customer experience representatives, at times, may need to access CRM, order tracking, and inventory control applications. Only if there’s a connected workflow, there would be no need to juggle between applications, and hence productivity will not be hampered. 

It is always the best idea to evaluate the process workflows in-depth to eliminate any gaps. 

Define the KPI

How do you know whether everything is going in the right manner towards achieving the goal? To understand how each process is performing, you can set short- and long-term KPIs (key performance indicators). For instance, in an employee recruitment process, long-term KPIs could be the average time taken for a step like screening a candidate’s profile in the process or even identifying the step that causes bottlenecks in the workflow; short-term KPIs on the other hand can provide real-time analysis of each process on a daily basis, or an hour or minute. In the same “recruitment” example, short-term KPIs can be the number of candidates interviewed on a daily basis or profiles screened in one hour. 

By setting up the KPIs, you can gain insights into the workflows, discover any potential challenges and thereby find novel ways for better decision-making and continuous improvement. 

Maintain a BPM implementation checklist

Before you even start putting those rigorous efforts into doing the groundwork and working on deploying a BPM solution, it is ideal to make a checklist ready. The list can contain the action items like identifying the stakeholders and the process owner, chalking out the pros and cons of the shortlisted BPM vendors and choosing the right one, making an outline of the key objectives, designing/prototyping workflows, testing the workflows to capture the processing time, output quality, etc.   

Assess the end-user experience

Involve all the stakeholders and users and make them familiar with the new platform. Try to get their feedback, suggestions, and pain points in the workflow, UX designs, or the interface. This goes a long way in improving employee satisfaction, after all, one of the goals of developing a BPM strategy is unifying the employees working in silos within their confinements. BPM can streamline the processes, reduce the burnout on staff, decrease bottlenecks, and more. As a structured procedure, it can keep the flow organized where employees know what to execute next without being bored and distracted. 

Final thoughts

Business Process Management is always an ongoing process that needs to be visited regularly to identify areas of improvement, examine the outcomes of the processes, and modify the current processes. Planning and managing every step with new visual models is key. When utilized correctly, BPM can bring nearly 30-50% productivity gains (according to Forrester), and it can have an internal rate of more than 15% (according to a leading industry analyst). In another survey by BPTrends, BPM can improve customer satisfaction by 30%.

Internal Link – Newtimezone

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