What is Business Process Improvement (BPI)?
Business Process Improvement (BPI) is fundamental to growing an organization and adapting to changing market conditions. If your goal is to build a high functioning organization, you should strive to understand both HOW and WHERE to apply your process improvement efforts.
At MSSBTA, we define Business Process Improvement (BPI) as the art of identifying, analyzing, and improving existing business processes to achieve a desired business benefit or outcome.
What are the Benefits of Business Process Improvement?
Regardless of your industry or market vertical, the desired benefits and outcomes of business process improvement initiatives can usually be grouped into one of a few broad objectives:
- Increase Throughput. If you think of the process you are trying to improve as a ‘black box’, throughput would be the rate at which the black box produces the output. This time element of throughput can have significant top line benefits to the business for a successful process improvement effort.
- Reduce Costs. More efficient processes can lower resource requirements and reduce waste. These “found” resources can reduce internal costs and drive bottom line benefits.
- Reduce Inventory. In some industries, the necessity to carry inventory to limit lead times, or meet fluctuations in demand, can drag down the organization’s ability to apply capital to growth initiatives or to reward shareholders. Reducing inventory will benefit the balance sheet and free up capital.
- Improve Quality. Quality and consistency are essential in today’s competitive landscape and are universally demanded by consumers. By improving quality and consistency, organizations can improve their reputation, which can positively impact both customer acquisition and retention.
- Improve Customer Experience. Customer experience is now outpacing price point as the top reason a consumer will choose one company over a competitor. Improving processes can have a profound impact on an organization’s market share and ability to stay competitive.
- Organizational Cultural Benefits. Organizations with continuous improvement cultures are better able to attract and keep top talent. Better processes lead to higher collaboration, increased engagement, and happier employees.
What are the Top Challenges in Business Process Improvement?
Business Process Improvement initiatives face a gauntlet of challenges that must be overcome. The top challenges we often see include:
- Improper Targeting. Process improvement initiatives have the biggest overall positive impact when they are applied to organizational constraints and bottlenecks. When process improvement efforts are not targeted at those constraints, or chosen in an ad-hoc fashion, these “local” improvements will have no real impact to the organization.
- Poor Buy-In to the Change Effort. From end-users to organizational leaders, there will almost certainly be doubt from the start in terms of probability of a successful change effort and obtaining tangible results. This doubt, whether expressed or implicit, will affect buy-in.
- Goal Setting and Measurements. Improvement initiatives often start without clear baseline metrics or measurable goals for improvements. This is usually the result of time constraints or other internal drivers to move forward quickly with the initiative.
- Breaking Down Silos. Larger process improvement initiatives can touch many departments and functions. Process improvement leaders must often negotiate organizational silos and many layers of the organization to affect change.
- Selecting the Right Tools and Framework. Process improvement leaders all have their favorite tools, whether it be Lean, Six Sigma, TOC, etc. These preferences, or lack of process improvement knowledge, may cause these leaders to force fit a tool that might not be the best for the process or situation.
- Process Complexity and Variability. Improvement efforts dealing in complex and highly variable processes frankly require a level of experience and skill less complex processes do not. Results may largely be dependent on who is chosen to lead the effort.
Consider a Technology Assessment for BPI Targeting
What are some Business Process Improvement best practices?
Many of the challenges mentioned above can be alleviated by following some BPI Best Practices.
- Never make improvements at random or in isolation. Integrate and Synchronize.
- Prioritize and select processes that are strategically aligned.
- Conduct fact/data-based analysis to ensure true root-causes of issues are identified. Do not depend on subjective analysis or opinion.
- Select approach (Lean, Six Sigma etc.) based upon need. Choose Fit over Standardization.
- Manage each improvement initiative as a project with effective sponsorship, communication, and provide effective Transformation Oversight.
What is your Business Process Improvement Approach?
Each organization and situation are unique. Our approach considers these differences, and we work with our clients to develop custom solutions leveraging industry best practices, data-driven research, and our own deep experience. Our five-phase approach to process improvement is outlined below.
We can help with Business Process Improvement
MSSBTA consultants have successfully delivered countless business process improvement initiatives over the years. If you can use an extra set of hands, send us a note and we will get back to you shortly.
Advisory@mssbta.com or 602-387-2100.
Why should you consider MSSBTA for Business Process Improvement initiatives?
Many organizations have process improvement specialists and even entire teams dedicated to business process improvement. Whether your organization has a dedicated team or not, there are several reasons to consider hiring MSSBTA to lead an initiative or supplement your team:
#1 Acquire expertise you do not have. By hiring MSSBTA, you can bridge any internal gaps in knowledge, skill, and capacity with your internal team.
#2 Build internal competency during execution. We will work to transfer knowledge to your team, while we lead (or assist your team) on a specific initiative. This “on the job” training can be invaluable to the maturity level of your process improvement team.
#3 Leverage process improvement accelerators. MSSBTA has a structured approach, tools, templates, and access to the latest industry research and best practices. You will not need to re-invent the wheel and you can achieve the desired benefits of the initiative much faster.
#4 Mitigate internal politics and bias. As a third party, we can come in and do the work without having to worry about damaging long term work relationships. As a third-party expert, we have immediate authority and will make the tough calls that internal resources might be hesitant or unwilling to make.
#5 Get an extra set of hands. Some initiatives can be resource intensive. There is often a strong business case to bring in a consultant for a temporary assignment vs. hiring a permanent employee.
Get your free copy of the white paper Accelerating the Impact of Technology and Process Investments
What other Digital Transformation Services does MSSBTA provide?
- Transformation Oversight. What will your governance processes and vendor QA program look like? Transformation Oversight goes beyond what typically falls under the realm of Project Management. It involves developing good governance processes to provide visibility of project execution and enable quality decision making while simultaneously holding your vendor(s) accountable. Learn More
- ERP System Selection and Implementation. Have you selected the right Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System? What won’t your ERP Vendor do? Choosing an ERP System may seem like an overwhelming task for those who have never gone through the ERP System Selection process. It is a big decision your organization will be living with for the next ten or more years. MSS Business Transformation Advisory has unparalleled experience in ERP System Selection and Implementation. Learn More
- Vendor Selection. Which Vendor(s) should I choose? In today’s market there is a convergence in capabilities between technology vendors. Aligning stakeholders, gathering differentiating requirements, conducting market research, developing your RFP, scheduling demos, and evaluating vendors can be a difficult, resource-intensive, and time-consuming project. MSS Business Transformation Advisory can help you select the right vendor on an accelerated timeline. Learn More
- Enterprise Change Management. What is the impact of change on your people? Change is hard. A Digital Transformation is a huge change for any organization. We understand large technology initiatives do not typically fail for technical reasons; instead, they often fail because the “people side of change” is not managed well. MSS Business Transformation Advisory has unparalleled experience in Enterprise Change Management. Learn More
- IT Strategic Planning. Are your technology initiatives aligned with your business objectives? MSS Business Transformation Advisory can provide tailored assessments to ensure your technology initiatives are driving expected business outcomes. We help you define your technology roadmap using best practice approaches, frameworks, and tools. Learn More
Advisory@mssbta.com or 602-387-2100.