Business Process Improvment (BPI)
Business Process Improvement (BPI), while it doesn’t really have a universally-accepted definition, can be seen as the analysis, review, and improvement of existing business processes.
At BMT Consulting, we will do it by mapping out the business process, identifying inefficiencies, redesigning the process and benchmarking to initial metrics. We will involve the alignment of an entire organisation for this process. It’s not just the responsibility of the senior management to carry out change – rather, it’s a company-wide initiative, all the way down to the lowest level employees.
Typically, the main goal of BPI is either, or all 3, of the following:
Goal #1: Reducing Process Time
Finding ways of carrying out the process faster or more efficiently. There are a lot of different ways this could be done, from eliminating useless steps to adopting new technology.
Goal #2: Improving Output Quality
Creating a better product or providing a better service with the same or less input of resources. This usually means finding steps within the process that negatively influence the end-product, resulting in defects and errors.
Goal #3: Cutting Out Waste
Discovering wasteful processes & cutting them out of the workflow. This may either help achieve the first 2 goals or simply just improve overall productivity. If your team doesn’t have to do unnecessary work, they can spend more time on the work that creates value for the company.
Business Process Improvement (BPI) Methodologies
There are various BPI methodologies which can be used to help you apply a framework to your initiative, as opposed to just going with the flow.
Six Sigma is used as an indicator for the level of efficiency for a process. A “Six Sigma Process” is a process that, out of a million output, doesn’t produce more than 3.4 defects.
For process improvement, specifically, DMAIC is one of the core tools under the Six Sigma umbrella. It consists of 5 parts:
- Define – Find the opportunity for improvement.
- Measure – Identify the metrics you’re going to benchmark new processes to.
- Analyze – Uncover any defects or inconsistencies in the process.
- Improve – Get rid of the aforementioned problems
- Control – Monitor the new process, making sure that there aren’t any new problems.
While Six Sigma focuses on eliminating defects to better the product quality, Lean aims at optimizing the process itself as much as possible. It means, for example, finding a low-value step in a process and cutting it out completely – something that would improve employee productivity, but not have much of an effect on the end-product.
Typically, the steps for lean process improvement would include:
- Defining what value is for the end-customer
- Mapping out the process and identifying which steps aren’t creating any value
- Cutting out the steps that don’t add value, or modify them in a way that they do
- Repeat the steps 1 through 3 for other business processes, repeat until the organisation is sufficiently more efficient