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Business Process Improvement (BPI): What it is and How it Works

Business-Process-Improvement-BPI-featured-image
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To keep pace with evolving scenarios, business process improvement (BPI) is essential for every organization. 

Every company has to deal with hundreds of business processes. No entrepreneur can call these processes 100% foolproof, as there are always some bottlenecks that cost them time and money.

Optimizing or improving these business processes can help eliminate any issues causing inconvenience to your team or customers. Let’s look at how business process improvement works and how it helps your business thrive.

What Is Business Process Improvement?

Business processes are the tasks you do to run your business. You need to improve these processes to stay strong in this competitive world. So, business process improvement means continuously optimizing business processes for greater productivity and effectiveness.

What-Is-Business-Process-Improvement

The business processes of an enterprise involve three types of activities:

  • Operational Task: The repetitive tasks companies need to perform every day, like manufacturing, logistics, and reporting.
  • Managerial Tasks: These tasks include budgeting, administration, and HR development.
  • Supporting Tasks: The remaining tasks fall under this category, such as technical support, recruiting, accounting, etc.

All tasks belonging to these categories need to go through regular evaluation and correction to prevent inefficiencies. Through BPI, companies can continuously make positive changes to these operations according to the input of internal and external stakeholders. 

These improvements either introduce new ways to do things or removes flaws from the current processes. In both cases, the aim is to streamline the process.

Importance of Business Process Improvement

No matter which industry your organization belongs to, you need to adapt to the changes to survive the competition. Business process improvement enables you to make that change.

During this process, companies can determine the areas that need improvement and locate any inefficiency that needs removal. It helps organizations to understand the system and evolve as per the current industry standards. 

Moreover, it offers a fresh outlook on your business process to improve productivity, quality, client relationship, and skill development.

How Does Business Process Improvement Work? 

#1. Select a Process

First, you need to determine the areas or processes that need improvement. While numerous business processes go on in a company, you can prioritize the repetitive processes for improvement. 

#2. Map Process Issues

Focus on the chosen process to identify the problems that need elimination. Mapping means visualizing the whole operation and finding out the bottlenecks. 

#3. Analyze Business Processes

analyse

Now, you need to analyze the pain points to find the issues that can be improved. You can ask the related questions to the responsible persons to get the answers.

#4. Redesign the Process

At this stage, you need to redesign the process to make it better. Use the most suited methodology to eliminate the identified problems and make your processes more efficient.

#5. Acquire Resources

For any kind of improvement in the business process, companies need to secure the necessary resources. It could be getting new software, hardware, or manpower. For all these, get approval from management.

#6. Test the New Process

Before applying the BPI system in your organization, testing is a mandatory process. Check every workflow step so you do not miss anything critical. If you need any changes, this is the step to do that. 

#7. Implement the Method

After successful testing and management approval, it is time to implement the methodology for business process improvement. You can start on a small scale and extend the scope for better results.

#8. Review and Refine

Your work does not end with the implementation phase. You need to constantly monitor whether the new methods are improving your process or not. Refinement might sometimes be necessary, and you have to implement that accordingly.

Business Process Improvement Methods

Depending on your business process and industry, you can choose the following methodologies for BPI.

#1. Agile Methodology

Agile-Methodology

This methodology frees a project from having a stringent deadline and lets you incorporate more iterations. Based on the team and client feedback, Agile allows you to fix the highlighted problems. It also improves communication and collaboration among all parties.

#2. Lean Manufacturing

The objective of this methodology is to eliminate waste and thus reduce cost. Apart from the manufacturing industry, others can also implement its core principles. Here, teams need to understand buyer perception to eliminate waste and redundancy.

#3. Six Sigma

Six-Sigma

This popular approach can reduce variability and errors by leveraging data and statistics while maximizing value. Six Sigma involves using DMAIC and DMADV to achieve a streamlined process and increased ROI.

#4. Total Quality Management (TQM)

Companies that use this methodology need to get their whole team on board to improve customer satisfaction. It offers employees an environment and work culture where experiences are appreciated, and they are encouraged to have a shared business goal. 

#5. Theory of Constraints

The Theory of Constraints methodology is commonly used whenever there is a need for instant improvement. It can determine the process bottlenecks and improves them until eliminated.

#6. Kaizen

This business process improvement methodology focuses on lean and agile practices. It slightly modifies your work and corporate culture for enhanced quality and productivity of processes.

#7. Kanban

Kanban-1

Kanban is a visual workflow technique that lets you identify problems and eliminate bottlenecks. As a result, you can increase efficiencies and monitor the progress of your initiative. 

#8. Just-In-Time

This method is ideal for manufacturing companies that want to minimize inventory costs by producing goods according to demand. In most cases, it is used with the Kanban methodology for accurate forecasting and avoiding work overcapacity.

#9. Process Mapping

Companies can map out a process improvement plan using this workflow visualization technique. You can also use it to develop maps for specific roles or business goals.

#10. PDCA 

This model stands for plan, do, check, and act. Being a part of the Kaizen methodology, it helps organizations locate inefficient processes.

Benefits of Business Process Improvement

Business Agility

Through business process improvement, companies can become more capable of addressing the ever-changing requirements of the customers. They can quickly respond to the demands and refine the projects accordingly.

Better Visibility into Processes

To implement BPI, companies need to visualize the whole workflow. It allows them to monitor the business processes and measure the effectiveness of each stage. 

Cost-Effective💰

Cost-Effective💰

The aim of improving business processes is to remove bottlenecks and inefficiencies. As it lets you identify and eliminate unnecessary spending, the overall expense will automatically reduce.

More Productivity

To make your processes efficient, BPI removes all the repetitive and unnecessary tasks from the workflow. As a result, employee productivity increases manifold.

Compliance and Security

Implementing business process improvement means having a properly regulated and managed workplace. Hence, these companies can be compliant with regulations and necessary security measures in place. 

Customer and Employee Satisfaction

Customer-and-Employee-Satisfaction

Any improvised process is going to add value to the customers. With satisfied customers, you can have a thriving business. It also makes your team efficient and productive by eliminating unnecessary tasks. 

Challenges of Business Process Improvement

#1. Resistance from Employees

The biggest challenge that BPI faces is resistance from employees. Most people are against any changes and like to continue working traditionally. Hence, companies need to make the employees understand the benefit of this improvement. Otherwise, the initiative will turn into total failure.

#2. Inability to Set Goals

goals

During this process, leadership should have clear and specific objectives. Without clear goals, they will be unable to get the complete picture of the company’s direction. While goals will let you know where to put your time and resources, a lack of them will cause difficulty in improving business processes. 

#3. Time Adjustment⏲️

To make things work, you need to give it some time. Many businesses think that process improvement is impossible due to their day-to-day activities. But, it is often possible to streamline the workflows and assign one person to implement this process. However, companies can even employ a contractor or freelancer to analyze the process. 

#4. Introducing New Technologies

Most business process improvements require bidding farewell to legacy applications and adopting new technologies. Most companies find this to be highly challenging. Besides being costly, you must also make your employees familiar with the innovative technologies.

Learning Resources

Fundamentals of Business Process Improvement: Udemy 

Fundamentals-of-Business-Process-Improvement

This Fundamentals of Business Process Improvement course teaches you the framework and steps necessary for BPI. Aligning business processes with goals and finding practical improvement solutions are also included in this course.

You can also learn to use different tools to create new business processes and techniques to measure your goals from this resource. 

Effective Business Process Improvement: Udemy

Effective-Business-Process-Improvement

This Effective Business Process Improvement course teaches you the impact of business process improvement so that you can re-engineer your organizational processes.

Developing the BPI model, implementing it in the project, and measuring the progress are taught in this course. It includes 2.5 hours of on-demand video and a certificate upon course completion.

Business Process Improvement

This book on Business Process Improvement tells you how to implement quality improvement techniques in the service industry.

It tells you everything you should know to start the BPI instantly. From this resource, you can also learn to create and train teams for BPI, simplify the process, reduce time, and track progress.

Business Process Improvement Toolbox

This book on Business Process Improvement Toolbox will give you a practical and comprehensive insight into developing a coherent BPI system.

It discusses the BPI model using performance measurement and introduces you to suitable tools. Moreover, you can learn how to use these tools and get some templates for implementation.

Final Words

Without business process improvement, it is impossible to stay in the competition. It allows you to find out your weaknesses and inefficiencies so that you can implement new methods to improve them.

Here, we discussed how the business process improvement world along with some useful courses and books to learn it. Once you have sufficient knowledge, start making the necessary improvements to take your business to the next level.

You can also learn about business process management software.

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