This is a guest post from Pauline Farris, a translator who speaks Portuguese, English, Spanish and Italian. She travelled the world to immerse herself in new cultures and learn languages. Today she is proud to be a voting member of the American Translators Association and an active participant of the Leadership Council of its Portuguese Language Division.
The world of business is changing fast and there’s no time for hesitation.
In every domain, competition is getting strong and the market is getting less tolerant of mistakes. This is why more and more companies worldwide are embracing Business Process Management (BPM).
BPM is a management system which aims at improving a company’s overall performance through optimization of important business processes, appropriate management, and maintaining those changes which have been made.
This shows that companies on a global level have recognized the need for improvement, development, and change.
Can business process management help your organization achieve its goals? It’s time to take a deeper look. Here is an exploration of the main benefits of adopting BPM and the reason why the BPM market is thriving worldwide.
Processes protect your business from failure. If you don’t measure what’s working and what isn’t, you can’t make any informed changes. You can stab in the dark, but you might never find out why what you’re doing does or doesn’t work.
Processes also act as the blueprint for your business to scale. Sharing detailed and comprehensive knowledge with new and existing employees is the only sure-fire way to keep your business running properly without wasting time on training, missing deadlines, or simply forgetting how to do things.
There are plenty of studies on why processes are effective, and some post-mortems from history’s greatest failures that show how errors can be easily avoided by systemizing tasks.
Surgeon, writer and public health researcher Atul Gawande found that implementing a checklist in the operating theatre. 78% of staff actually observed the checklist to have prevented an error in the operating room, and 80% said the checklist was easy to use and improved the safety of care.
Disasters such as Chernobyl and the Challenger shuttle could have been avoided if the people involved with these organizations had implemented and enforced processes. In short, all human error incidents are a result of not following the proper process.
Time and time again, it’s been proven that documented and enforced processes are vital if your business is going to do anything but fail.
But where do you start? Start with our business process management guide.
Learn how to create processes
There’s a right way to create a process, and there’s a ton of wrong ways.
George Boorman, the man responsible for Boeing’s watertight pilot process, sums it up nicely:
“Bad checklists are vague and imprecise. Good checklists are, above all, practical.”
That’s the high-level overview, but in the business process management guide, I give you the step-by-step process you’ll need to create processes for anything from scratch.
Processes don’t need to be complex, and, depending on their exact purpose, they don’t need to be 100% comprehensive. They can be fully automated, semi-automated, or fully manual — the important thing is, they exist and are accessible by the people who need them. That’s the only way to reduce human error and lower the rate that your team forgets to do their work or vital steps in their workflows.
In the guide, I teach you how to create the processes you know your business needs. It contains step-by-step instructions for every level, from basic to advanced.
Learn how to map and optimize your current processes
The only way you can be sure you’re running the most optimal process is if you fully understand how it works at every stage. When you hire a process consultant, they’ll come in and interview your team about how they get work done. Then, they’ll map the existing process and work with the team to optimize it. That means smashing bottlenecks by cutting out useless reviews and approvals, minimizing the amount of paper (or data) moving from place to place, and automating as much as possible.
Processes are the kinds of things that sound complex but are actually just a necessary step
This guide — written by analyzing best practices from process experts — will teach you how to do it without hiring an expensive consultant.
Now you can use techniques that are usually the reserve of big businesses that can afford the high price tag.
Learn how to outsource your processes
One of the major benefits of having a documented process is that you can outsource it without much friction. That helps your business scale because you’ve already worked out the most efficient way to do the task.
Another way to approach outsourcing is to hire a company to handle one entire side of your business. Some companies hire IT service providers or bookkeepers as an alternative to hiring a specialist in-house. To use an example from the world of corporations, IBM handles all things IT for Coca Cola. To use an example from Process Street, we hire an agency that recruits virtual assistants and handles their payroll. That means we don’t need to hire a recruiter or an accountant for a big chunk of our staff.
This ebook contains step-by-step guides to getting your processes ready to outsource in house, and ideas of what you could save money on by hiring agencies.
Learn what to do when your processes fail
Sometimes you have to rip everything up and start again. The corporate term for that is business process reengineering (BPR). Almost every business has had to make major changes to their operations at some point, whether it’s Ford, Google, Taco Bell, or countless smaller businesses that haven’t had case studies written on them.
“In the new situation the buyer registers an order in an online database. The buyer no longer sends a copy of the purchasing order form to the creditor administration. When the goods arrive at the store, the storekeeper checks in the database whether the received goods correspond to the purchasing order form.”
Drawing from every case study on we could get our hands on, this ebook contains numerous examples of how real businesses have impacted their bottom line by changing their processes.
Get the ebook for free
Everything you need to start documenting, mapping, and optimizing your processes condensed into one handy book.
If there ever was a three-word phrase that sounded dull enough to be a sedative, it’s business process management.
It’s probably the vagueness that’s so off-putting. Which process? Managed how? Who’s business? In the last chapter, I went deep into what a process is and then why processes are important. I’ll recap so you don’t have to skip around.
A process is “a collection of interrelated work tasks initiated in response to an event that achieves a specific result”.
But what happens if that process isn’t achieving the result, or if it’s not achieving it very effectively? Every business has goals, but the interesting part — and what business process management actually is — is the exact steps a business will take to achieve those goals.
These goals could be anything from sending a newsletter on time every week to hitting $1,000,000 in revenue. Whatever the goals, your business processes are the roadmap for getting there. Not so boring, right?
While business process management is an excellent way for you to keep your business organized and running efficiently, there are problems that you may encounter along the way. It’s important to recognize what can occur so you can create an environment that prevents them from happening. Here a few general problems you may encounter and a few possible ways to counter them:
Business Process Management does not Solve the Problem
Remember, Business Process Management is not the solution but rather a tool to assist in solving problems such as an employee forgetting to follow-up with a client after a product or service has been delivered. Use BPM as the system that it was meant to be. If the employee uses the system and follows each step every time, he should get accustomed to the system and commit fewer errors, such as not following up with a client.
Business is forever changing and evolving. The things you need to do to stay up to date can be daunting. Yet, the alternative is falling by the wayside. This occurs when knowledge management is overlooked.
Plus, when 78% of millennial customers won’t give you a second chance, your day-to-day interactions count more than ever. That’s why you need a solid knowledge management system.
Knowledge management is the only way to reliably manage the resources available to your team. It also helps everyone to perform to the best of their ability.
Enterprise performance management lets you plan, structure, track, and improve your performance across the board. This isn’t something you want to ignore.
You might want to know what’s going well and where the biggest improvements can be made. Otherwise, you may want to create achievable goals that don’t leave you overreaching or improve your tracking metrics with apps like Process Street. Either way, enterprise performance management is essential.
That’s why, in this Process Street post, I’ll be breaking down precisely what it is, why it’s useful, and how to use it: