Business Process Management is the main tool that companies have to improve their efficiency, effectiveness and, ultimately, to meet all the expectations of the potential customer. It is also aimed at maximising production at the lowest possible cost.
BPM is undoubtedly a very powerful tool in business optimisation. A company consists of different processes that work together to produce a given good. We can say that the BPM is the supervisor of all these processes, it must identify them correctly in order to improve them and then follow up and make subsequent adjustments.
To summarise, and so that the reader is completely clear: the BPM supervises all the production processes of a company so that it performs in the best possible way, identifying weaknesses and proposing solutions to eliminate them.
What are the steps in the BPM lifecycle?
The business process management lifecycle is a continuous process that repeats itself every time business processes change. In order to envisage an optimal and efficient BPM lifecycle, these essential steps must be followed:
- First, of course, a thorough planning of the BPM project, which key processes are to be optimised and which objectives are to be achieved.
- BPM process modelling: This step provides an understanding of how the company works. This can be done using different tools such as graphs, flowcharts, process flow diagrams… This set of visual devices helps the BPM process manager to have a comprehensive view of the business, in order to make the best possible decisions.
- Implementation of the BPM project: once the steps for the management of the processes are clear, the proposed solutions will be implemented and the adaptation of the workers to the new business landscape will be taken into account, trying to keep the impact to a minimum.
- Operation: with the implementation of the new set of business processes, data must be collected on the performance achieved, adjusting on the fly and even anticipating error through trend studies.
- Progressive and continuous improvement: in the final lifecycle of the BPM project, improvements continue to be made to the set of processes so that it remains as efficient as possible.
What are the benefits of business process management?
Proper business process management optimises a company’s results, makes its customers much more satisfied and increases its productivity. But there is more:
- Thanks to the exhaustive study and analysis of all the production processes of a business, it will be possible to have an integral vision of the company and identify as soon as possible, what should and should not be done.
- With a proper BPM project, the different production processes of a company work together towards a single goal, are better understood and costs are reduced. Communication between the different departments is essential for the correct management of business processes.
- Any changes that need to be implemented in a certain area of the business will be made much faster thanks to early detection. The market is extremely volatile, it is constantly changing, and it is essential to anticipate these changes.
- Identifying what is beneficial to the business means recognising what is useless or detrimental to business performance, such as bottlenecks, redundancies or superfluous activities. BPM not only identifies what is good for the company, but also what is less valuable for the customer, whether it is another company or an individual.
- BPM also provides the company with objective measurements of its achievements, so that it can immediately recognise whether it is achieving its goals.
What are the tools and techniques of a BPM project?
The BPM project manager has at his disposal a number of techniques and tools to identify the production processes of a company as well as its weaknesses. These are some of the most important ones:
- Process mapping: This tool visually represents the workflow of a company and who is responsible for it. Thanks to this graphical representation, the different departments of a company can plan common objectives and reduce inconsistencies in teamwork, among other benefits.
- Process analysis and design: business performance is evaluated and the possibility of designing a new business model that is more efficient and productive is studied.
- Quality, risk and performance management: these procedures ensure that the product is of the highest quality for complete customer satisfaction, identify risks and measure and improve business performance. This set of techniques ensures that an organisation’s production model is in line with the objectives it has set for itself.
What are the challenges of BPM?
One of the biggest challenges a BPM project manager may face is the lack of employee involvement. And not for lack of desire: simply because of the way the organisation’s organisational chart is designed, its workers are not involved in this type of implementation. Ignorance leads to mistrust, and mistrust leads to an inability to achieve the objectives set.
Another challenge that BPM managers may face is the complexity of business processes, which makes it difficult to optimally design and implement effective solutions. Also, we cannot forget that business process management can be a costly operation, a difficult investment to accept, as it is difficult to justify what you are going to invest if you cannot demonstrate what you are going to get in return.
Some useful tips that can be applied to a successful BPM project: involve employees in the design and implementation of the processes (their participation is essential: few know better what these processes are), justify the investment as far as possible and simplify all the processes involved in the company’s activity.
In short, business process management is a valuable tool to help organisations optimise their production chain and thus distinguish themselves from the competition. Through the use of the right tools and techniques, companies will be able to achieve, sooner and better, all the objectives they have set themselves, even in today’s volatile and changing market.