Business Process Improvement (BPI)

Whether you’re struggling with unresolved customer complaints within the aviation industry, or wasting time and money on repetitive tasks on the construction site, there’s a business process improvement (BPI) concept to resolve your operational challenges.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of how to move forwards with business process development and how workflow automation software can help. 

What Is Business Process Improvement?

Business process improvement is an approach to identifying and resolving workflow problems.

The goal of BPI is to make processes more efficient, effective, and adaptable to changing business needs. It involves a structured methodology for assessing current processes, identifying areas for improvement, and implementing changes to achieve better results.

Why Business Process Improvement Is Important

BPI helps companies become more efficient, effective, and adaptable in a rapidly changing business environment.

By redesigning and optimizing your existing tasks, such as filling out industrial safety checklists, work orders, or purchase requests, you can simplify operations, streamline automation, and boost productivity. 

By focusing on how to improve internal business processes, you’ll discover that the benefits can be seen across the board and apply to practically every operational activity. 

Business activities can be classified in one of the following categories:

  • Operational – the day-to-day tasks like opening accounts, reporting, such as near miss reporting, manufacturing, logistics.
  • Management – organizational tasks, such as human resource development, board meeting agendas, and corporate governance.
  • Supporting – ad hoc tasks, such as employee onboarding, accounting and tech support.

All of the tasks within these categories require ongoing evaluation and adjustments. Implementing changes can be time-consuming, but business automation software can streamline these processes.

To make successful changes, it’s important to understand how information technology improves business processes and which data you should be collecting and analyzing.

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Types of Process Improvement

There are several BPI methodologies out there, but here we’ll focus on three popular ones: Six Sigma, Total Quality Management and the Theory of Constraints

We’ll explore each methodology and its unique approach to business process improvement solutions. From data-driven reviews to customer-centric optimizations, you’ll discover which methodology aligns best with your company’s goals.

With a foundational knowledge of the following business process improvement examples, you’ll be ready to apply these tactics to your organization.

Six Sigma

If you’re looking for a methodology that relies on analytics and making data-driven decisions, Six Sigma is the way to go. 

Originally developed for manufacturing, Six Sigma has evolved into a versatile approach that can be applied to any activity within your organization. 

This methodology proposes that the DMAIC framework can be used to solve any problem and eliminate inefficiencies.

  • Define the problem
  • Measure current metrics
  • Analyze inconsistencies
  • Improve the issue
  • Control to ensure efficiency

A modification of Six Sigma is Lean Thinking, which takes a customer-centric approach to BPI. By focusing on tasks that bring value to your customers and eliminating those that don’t, you can optimize your workflow and improve productivity.

Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management (TQM) goes beyond specific tasks and places customer value at the center of your entire organization. Every department, from management to customer support, should prioritize delivering an exceptional experience for the customer. 

With this methodology, customer growth becomes the unified goal and each employee has the potential to make an impact. 

Theory of Constraints

The Theory of Constraints (TOC) determines and resolves ineffective processes to enhance productivity. The basic principle is to root out the most limiting factor affecting a process and then work to resolve the issue. This can then be repeated across different aspects of a company’s operations. 

When implemented successfully, this methodology streamlines processes to optimize the workflow across the entire organization.

How to Implement Effective Business Process Improvement 

Once you’ve chosen the BPI methodology that best suits your business type and strategy, it’s time to set the wheels in motion and enjoy the benefits of process improvement.

The key to your success will be moving through the process one step at a time, ensuring ample attention and resources are allocated at every stage. 

The following five steps apply to all of the BPI methodologies we’ve shared:

Step 1: Mapping

Identifying the issue should always be the first step and this can be achieved through mapping. 

Mapping allows you to visualize all operations within your organization and determine which ones need to be addressed and optimized. 

You might be used to performing this task manually, which, as you’ll know, can take a long time. This starts with drawing a flowchart and adding all of the relevant information. To save work hours and resources, you can opt to do this using digital workflow software, such as Fluix. 

Fluix is an automation platform that digitalizes existing manual processes to create streamlined workflows and other digital solutions. Automation is a game-changer for business process improvement and can enhance productivity across the entire organization. 

With a manual mapping process, the potential for human error always exists, meaning you might miss key tasks and opportunities. With an automated system, it’s easy to oversee every aspect of your operations and to benefit from actionable insights for optimization.

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Step 2: Analysis

Once mapping is complete, it’s time to identify and analyze the pain points in your existing workflow. 

To get to the core of these pain points and truly understand how to improve internal business processes, you’ll need to obtain more information by asking questions, such as:

  • Are certain tasks taking longer than they should?
  • In the case of missed deadlines, what’s holding us back?
  • What are the main factors leading to inefficiency?
  • Which activities are critical for the company’s profitability?
  • Which tasks have the biggest impact on business performance?

Essentially, you need to ask the right questions to gain a deeper understanding of what’s driving success and what’s holding you back. Armed with this information, you’ll accurately identify the most pressing pain points and move ahead with your business process development.    

Step 3: Get Buy-In

As you’ll already know, any change to operations will require approval and potentially additional resources, too. This means you’ll need to present your findings to senior management and put forth your action plan.

When you explain your strategy to the decision-maker, you’ll want to include and explain the following: 

  • The aspects of the current workflow that are ineffective
  • The impact of the inefficiencies on productivity
  • Why the pain points are detrimental to customer value
  • The expected benefits of process improvement

Once you’ve made your case to management, your action points will need to be understood by the team. So, ensure your strategy is clear, concise and assigns responsibilities to relevant stakeholders. 

To ensure you put the most powerful pitch across, it’s valuable to explain how Fluix will ease existing pain points. Our comprehensive eBook –  Can I Do This with Fluix? — has all of the information you need to get your point across. 

Step 4: Implement 

With approval secured from senior management and the right resources at your disposal, it’s time to bring your plan to life.

To be successful at this stage, you’ll need to: 

  • Start with small changes
  • Test the initial impact and assess
  • Adapt and adjust if required
  • Seek additional resources if necessary

Understanding how to implement effective business process improvements can be a steep learning curve, but once you’ve completed your first round, you can repeat the cycle. 

Step 5: Review and Refine

When all of your changes have been implemented, it’s time to review your process. Make sure the actions you took were inline with the proposed strategy and that every task has been completed as required.

You can then move on to monitoring the impact through the relevant performance metrics. Be sure to assess how other activities within the business have been affected where relevant and determine if any problems have arisen.

If the changes haven’t had the desired effect, then go back to step one and work your way through the process again. 

The Power of Business Automation Software

Business automation software should be an integral part of your BPI plans if you want to realize the maximum benefits. Without it, it can be much harder and more time-consuming to monitor the effectiveness of business processes. 

Highlights of using automation software include easily gathering analytics to assess performance, effortlessly creating interactive reports and receiving valuable insights into the workflow. 

Want To Start Improving Your Business Processes?

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