Is your Business ready for the economic recovery?
Management and staff are forced to scramble, to develop and document new business processes, in the hope that they can save their business.
A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to a technology organisation who, unusually in the current economic doldrums, told me that their business was booming. Their closest competitor had gone into receivership, creating a windfall of 70 new customers requiring on-going annual support for the product. For the technology organisation benefiting from this fallout, the windfall was the equivalent of two years revenue. However, instead of celebrating and cheering in the aisles, the gift is seriously stressing the organisation and management is deeply worried that the new business will prove too much for their capacity and capability.
You see, they, like many other organisations, had undertaken a ‘slash and burn’ attitude when the economy faltered. They fired expensive specialists, asked everyone to multi-task/undertake additional roles, reduced overheads and they cut back on training. Previously, they had relied on a cadre of ‘old dogs’ who were the custodians of the company ‘know how’. Unfortunately they hadn’t seen fit to document the activities - processes – knowledge - of these professionals and now they are all gone. The CEO explained that they had thought this action was well justified as nothing fell apart when they fired all of these people.
Now, there is a growing realisation that what was deemed prudent to ride out the recession may cause the demise of the business in a boom. The workforce cannot cope with the level of demand from the newly acquired business, staff doesn’t know what to do, and knowledge is lost so new staff can't be trained quickly. Indeed, the evidence that they are in trouble became starkly evident when a long-standing customer recently chose to move to a new technology partner stating “I don’t think the company cares about me anymore”.
Now, Management and staff are scrambling to develop and document new business processes, in the hope that they can deliver quickly enough to save the business. Speaking to the management, I argued that there are also other objectives – “you also want to ensure your process gains are sustained and waste and overhead do not creep back as revenue grows. Otherwise, you will condemn the organisation to a crippling cycle of growth followed by shrinkage that cannot be sustained”.
Securing the future
So we agreed that the business needs to maintain ultimate flexibility, commit few resources and meet growing demand. These competing objectives can only be achieved through developing and training staff in robust processes.
Key to achieving this is to ensure that the business has the tools necessary to train, document and train on processess. The three most important tools are:
- Business Process Management Education, providing BPM standards, a single vocabulary and a methodology for undertaking process projects.
- A Process Framework that supports the business value chains (think SCOR, eTOM, ITIL etc) and...
- A process mapping tool and repository that supports process mapping standards, process visibility, process dashboards, compliance requirements, and also supports the main process improvement methodologies i.e. Lean, Six Sigma.
In addition, some of the process tools provide on-line training that can be delivered ‘just in time’ for people in busy jobs.
The Management has calculated that they have until December 2009 in which to get their act together. The reason this date is critical is because the annual support contracts expire at the end of December and unhappy customers will not renew if they are not receiving satisfactory service.
Focus on Process Development
Armed with this information, the company is now prioritising its business process mapping. They have sensibly prioritised the mapping of customer-facing processes such as the new customer ‘on-boarding’ process, ensuring that new customers quickly gain confidence in their new support structures.
Hopefully it will not be a case of too little, too late.
How to Choose, Prioritise, Define, and Manage, Process Improvement Projects
Your company has decided to embrace process improvement to cut costs, increase productivity and/or improve quality. Looking across the activities of the company, many opportunities present themselves but you can't do everything. What then, is the best way to choose, prioritise, define and manage Process Improvement Projects?
None of us has enough resources to throw at every process opportunity the business identifies. How then, do leading organisations define and prioritise their process improvement projects (note process improvement may mean BPM, Lean, Six Sigma, BPMS or other). There is no right way but there are plenty of wrong ways. Here is a brief description of the two approaches that we encounter most frequently in process-winning organisations.
Organisations with lower process maturity levels: 1-2
Organisations with Higher Maturity levels: 3-5
- Undertake a gap analysis between the organisation's strategic goals and the current performance. This is best undertaken in a workshop with senior management to ensure consensus, transparency and buy-in to prioritisation decisions. The priority is established by determining where the gap between 'current performance' and 'desired performance' is biggest. This is the area where you want to focus your scarce expert resources.
Where there are more resources available than required for the priority one project, then continue to allocate resources on the 'next biggest performance gap' until all available resources are consumed. If you have multiple projects, be sure to implement a standard process improvement methodology or you will just invent a new type of chaos that will need sorting out later.
- Now define the process vision for the 'to be' process so that there is no ambiguity about the desired improvement, and communicate in your own house style to the entire business, and then step back and allow the process improvement team to get on with its work.
Example of a good process vision statement:
"BPT Delivery's Deliver Ground Packages will be the preferred delivery service for ground delivery anywhere in the area it serves.
Deliveries will be picked-up and delivered on the day promised, in their original condition, to the correct location.
The target measures for the Deliver Ground Packages process are:
- On Time Delivery: >99%
- Goods Damaged: <1%
- Incorrect Delivery Rate: <.5%"
Source: BPTrends Associates
- Employ a standard process improvement methodology across all improvement projects, ensuring full visibility of the status of the project and undertake 'milestone' reviews at each phase.
(see phases in figure 1 below):
Figure 1. BPTrends Assocites: Process Improvement Project Phases and Outcomes
- Follow the structured methodology and Understand, Analyse, Redesign, Implement, Execute the new Process. Note that regular reviews of the process measures after implementation will confirm that the process is working properly or, if the results are less than expected, the measures will provide an early warning sign of problems which the process manager will resolve.
More mature organisations will take a 'balanced portfolio' approach to prioritising process improvement, spreading process improvement projects across various criteria e.g. strategic - new product development; operational excellence; cost-reduction; customer intimacy; compliance etc.
These projects can then slot into the company Project Management Office Portfolio where they will be subjected to on-going management review, or they will be subject to oversight by an BPM Centre of Excellence that is sponsored by an executive manager.
This approach builds on the process training, process methodology and tools implemented when the organisation was at a lower level of maturity.
Upcoming Training Events
Yes, it's September and back to school time!
If you are starting to implement BPM, if you want to understand the connections between BPM, BPM systems, Quality Systems, Lean Sigma; IT folk wishing to get a grip on BPM and learn the skills to move between Process Management and Business/Systems Analysis; this is the course for you.
Of course, many people attend the course to take
advantage of the BPTrends methodology and templates for implementation.And, if you intend to make BPM your profession, this course forms the foundation for more advanced and enterprise training from BPTrends.
|Location||Dates||Course Name||Enrolment Contact|
|Lisbon||21st - 25th Sept.||BPTrends Professional Certificate Programme
|Dublin||12th - 16th Oct.||Business Process Optimisation & BPTrends
Professional Certificate Programme
Customer testimonial - ESB International - Ireland
"I found the course to be very
beneficial because of the mix of participants and the business sectors in which
they operate, which were different from my own. The practical exercises and
case studies complemented the theory phases of the course perfectly. The
course provided me with a clear roadmap for the implementation of Business
Process Optimisation framework. The knowledge gained can be applied immediately
on return to the "day job". Noel Clarke, Quality Manager
Process Innovation Forum
– Introduction and Invitation
In response to research with a large number of interested parties, Torque Management - as a leading promoter of Business Process Management, has set up the Process Innovation Forum as an effective way to foster a BPM Community.
Join our Community
We have created a virtual Business Process Community where you can network, share learning and experiences, and access valuable resources and contacts that would traditionally be provided through a membership organisation.
Our research indicates that professionals and organisations working in this space are both cash and time poor. For these reasons there is no cost associated with becoming a member and the time to find and access useful resources will be fast and efficient.
Join BPM practitioners from leading organisations such as Elisa, ESB International, Irish Life, Eircom, NI Water, Microsoft and others, and benefit from the collective knowledge and wisdom of other process professionals.
Unique Attributes of the Process Innovation Forum
- Sub Groups. Enables private and public sub-groups.
- International links. The Process Innovation Forum has links to wider BPM networks: in Ireland, Europe, US and Australia, providing opportunities for global connections. PIF members can benefit from sharing their query with the broader community.
- Introductions. We will facilitate connections where a practitioner seeks to interact with like-minded persons - such as recently where an Australian police force engaged in BPM architecture work, sought to connect with European equivalents. Using our broader connections we were in a position to connect these organisations. We simply made the connections and walked away with no cost, no fuss or interference.
- Respect for confidentiality / sensitivity. In the event that a practitioner has a question to pose to the group but cannot do so publicly for confidentiality reasons, the question can be sent privately to the Process Innovation Forum Owner or Manager who will publish the question anonymously on their behalf in the wider community.
Our Contact Details:
Dee Carri E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Kinsella: E: email@example.com
T: +353 (0)45 901 620
We hear that Irish Life - Corporate Business, have garnered a prestigious international award for
process improvements by replacing time-consuming, paper-based processes with
automated systems to improve visibility, standardise processes and enhance
Irish Life has won "Private Sector Project of the Year" at the ICT
They also won the
Global 360 customer innovation award for EMEA, which was independently judged by:
Chief Research Officer, AMR Research
Dennis Byron, Senior
Analyst, IT Investment Research; Community Manager for Improving Business
Senior Analyst, Business Process Management, Forrester Research
Deborah Rosen, SVP
and Chief Marketing Officer, Global 360, Inc.
They won this award against stiff
competition from BMW Italia and Industriens Pension in Denmark
productivity by 35%, boosted staff morale, improved customer service and
enabled the business to confidently expand into new markets.
Click here to view a
video with David Hanly - CEO, Irish Life Corporate Business, where he describes
the project and improvements achieved.
"Congratulations and well done. There is no doubt that this initiative will resonate
with lots of organisations that continue to wallow in a sea of paper. The winning combination was a committed
leadership, a change in culture, strong process management and measurement, all
key contributors to successful process improvement projects. In this case improvements were enabled by
technology, in this case provided by Global360 and its Irish business partner,
If you would
like us to showcase your successful BPM project, please let us know.
its conference time again!
- The hugely popular Inspiring Performance
conference is in its fifth consecutive year and is a great event for networking
and hearing from major BPM projects
including Nestle, Kluwer, ING.
The BPM Europe conference 2009 takes place the following week and is packed with
major contributors such as British Airways , KPN, Aviva and many
internationally recognised thought leaders including Paul Harmon and Roger
Burlton. In addition there are 8
pre-conference workshops covering a range of topics from Principles of BPM to
Meanwhile, Galway, Ireland
is the chosen location for the International Society for Performance
Improvement's annual European conference where Dee Carri (Torque Management) is
the keynote speaker. The conference
theme is 'Facing Challenging Times with Confidence'. Join the conference to share ideas, theories,
observations, insights, case studies, testimonials, models and approaches to
supporting performance improvement efforts that really work, are readily
applicable and that address real world challenges and opportunities.
|Location||Dates||Event Name||More Information / Registration|
|London||24th - 25th Sept.||Inspiring Performance. |
|Inspiring Performance 2009|
|London||26th - 28th Sept.||BPM Conference Europe 2009||BPM Conference Europe 2009|
|Dublin||5th - 7th Nov. ||International Society for Performance Improvement Europe. (ISPI) ||ISPI |
If you are aware of upcoming process events
that may be of interest to others, please let us know and we will gladly promote them.