How to create efficient workflows
Do mistakes happen frequently in your company? Are you convinced that your company could be more performant and efficient, but you don't know where to start? With a detailed workflow analysis, you identify weaknesses, improvement potentials and causes for possible deviations between as-is and target performance, enabling you to make key-figure-based decisions.
Definition: What is a process?
Before we get into the actual question of what procedure analysis is, we should first be clear about how a process is defined. A business activity is a system consisting of a recurring series of activities that are performed in a specific sequence to achieve a desired result. Let's visualize this with a simple example: As a returns manager, you ensure that incoming returns are handled smoothly. The handling process of a return could be as follows: 1. Receipt of goods, 2. Preparation of goods; 3. Assessment of the goods; 4. Packaging; 5. Re-storage.
But even with supposedly simple processes like this, it is difficult to come to a common denominator. This is because everyone has a different view of the content and overlaps between the individual steps or prefers a different sequence, for instance. In the absence of a clear set of rules, complex and interlocking processes present companies with an immense challenge, as each employee involved in the process may have a different idea of how it should be carried out. This is why it is so important to structure your business operations precisely, and to clearly define responsibilities and tasks. Who does what, when, how and with what?
What is a process analysis?
Through a workflow analysis, the processes in your company are made visible and evaluated for the first time. You break down your operations and perform a systematic analysis on your processes to gain an understanding of each process and identify weaknesses and optimization potential. A procedure analysis is a fundamental part of operational process management. Workflow analysis reveals weaknesses, potentials for improvement and causes for possible discrepancies between the as-is and target performance of the process.
Based on your formulated process objectives, the performance of the processes is continuously monitored and analyzed. The efficiency of continuous improvement is increased by a defined procedure and standardized analysis methods. A standardized process enables you to systematically investigate deviations or errors in process execution and their causes. Measurement information from the process execution serve as the basis here. Identified improvement potentials are evaluated and a decision on their implementation is made. You should ask yourself these questions before performing a workflow analysis:
- How can the procedure be standardized?
- How can cross-departmental processes be synchronized?
- Where can superfluous work loops be avoided?
- Are all processes provided with sufficient information?
This is how a process analysis is conducted
If you are analyzing a cross-departmental area, this analysis requires a uniform approach. Otherwise, there is a risk that each department will develop its own procedure representation, which will further expand and reinforce silo thinking. As a result, cross-interface collaboration with other departments becomes more difficult. You can prevent this by implementing a consistent approach and a coordinated documentation scheme for workflow analysis. If you optimize the collaboration of all departments along the end-2-end processes, you align your organization specifically with customer value and can eliminate bottlenecks and make processes more efficient. This saves you time, money and personnel. Professional process management tools such as BIC Process Design ensure fast and efficient business activity modeling. The integrated analysis functions ideally support you in analyzing weak points and potential.
Get to know your processes better in four steps
1. Identify processes: Based on the organizational and process structures, the problem areas that are to be considered in the context of the as-is modeling are first identified.
2. Record processes (as-is state): The second phase is about creating graphical models that map and visualize the processes in question.
3. Analysis of business processes: Here you review the current state with regard to weaknesses and potential savings.
4. Identify optimization measures: Depending on the predefined process objective, develop different approaches for process optimization.
What method can you use for process analysis?
The SWOT analysis is a proven method to analyze the current state of your company. On the one hand, it examines the strengths and weaknesses of the company, and on the other hand the opportunities and threats from the environment. SWOT consists of the initial letters of the words Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. This analysis method allows you to record the current state of your company in order to subsequently derive adequate improvement measures. In the internal analysis, you list the strengths and weaknesses of your company. This analysis is also called company analysis. With the external analysis (environment analysis) you determine the actual state of the environment by collecting and evaluating possible opportunities and risks.
When analyzing the environment, a distinction can also be made between the indirect and immediate environment. The immediate environment includes direct influencing factors such as the behavior of competitors, industry trends and the development of the market structure. Indirect influencing factors such as the education level of employees, the ecosystem or political developments can be assigned to the indirect environment.
How to uncover weaknesses in your processes and exploit potential for improvement
The Ishikawa diagram or fishbone diagram is a qualitative method of quality management that serves to identify problems in your workflows and to work out their causes. According to Ishikawa, the following error sources or cause dimensions (7M) are considered:
Human: Lack of knowledge of employees, conflicts in the team, poor communication and cooperation.
Machine: Rare or no maintenance and inspection of machinery, equipment and tools.
Method: Lack of processes, poor workflows.
Environment: External influences such as new, changed regulations, laws, changed customer behavior, market changes.
Material: Poor storage and quality of raw materials.
Measurement: Incorrect, insufficient measurement of data.
Management: Unclear goals, wrong management decisions.
Based on the possible causes of the problem, you develop ideas for solutions and subsequently derive optimization measures. For example, if the cause of your problem lies in the lack of processes, a process management software helps you to capture, document and clearly visualize your existing business processes.
Thanks to the process directory in BIC Process Design, you have all your processes directly in view and can manage them in a targeted manner. Note that depending on the industry and area of activity, different criteria can be used for the cause-effect analysis.
What are the goals of a process analysis?
Process analysis is only successful when you build the bridge to process optimization. With the process analysis, you pursue the goal of identifying weak points in your workflows from which opportunities and fields of action can be derived. The as-is processes serve as the basis for the subsequent workflow optimization.
Our process management tools help you to perform a structured process analysis
BIC Process Design – Business Process Management in a class of its own
BIC Process Design revolutionizes process management and makes the modeling, analysis and simulation of processes easier than ever. The innovative modeling tool creates the best conditions for professional Business Process Management (BPM) and sets the performance of your processes to a maximum.
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