Business Process Improvement Project - Process Detailing Exercise

Business Process Improvement provides an excellent opportunity for Organizations to overhaul their existing operations, to increase efficiencies, eliminate wastage as well as to implement new and improved methods of working. The ground for BPI projects is not only with Organizations who aim to move from a people dependent operation to Process driven Organization but also those Organizations who are already dependent on Processes but are looking to refine their current processes in line with the Customer Expectations, adapt and implement new technology and elevate their internal standards and operating efficiencies.

The BPI project in the first stage involves selection and formation of EIT team which constitutes the Management especially the Business Managers and the Senior Managers who would act as the Sponsors and own the project from a management perspective. It is the EIT team that chooses or identifies the area and process that would be taken up under the BPI project. The EIT team also plays an important role by drawing up and sanctioning the budget and resources for the project.

In the next stage we come to the selection of PIT Leader, PIT Team and the sub task team selected from the chosen process or department. At each level of selection of teams, appropriate training in the BPI methodology, concept and technique would have to be provided to the team.

The actual planning and organizing for BPI project will begin with mapping the selected process in detail, drawing up the block diagram, identification of the boundaries and freezing the scope of the project in the said process followed by drawing up a detailed Process over View.

Drawing up the detailed Process Overview entails identifying and examining inputs, the source of inputs, the output, the customers that the process is designed to serve at various stages and the sub processes that it interacts with.

Identification of output, capturing the details of the output required in terms of the exact information or data, the format, the frequency and the mode of output data to be given needs to be examined and documented. For the purpose of identification, it helps to identify the various categories of customers both internal as well as external and other categories of customers that the process serves.

The chosen process would have several categories of customers that it serves at different times. Categorization of customers can be as follows:

  • Primary Customers - The Customers who are the direct recipients of the output of the chosen process would be the primary customers. In case of Sales Order Process, the Logistics Department would become the Primary customer.

  • Secondary Customers - In many cases, there would be other Business Processes who would be dependent upon the output from the Sales Order Process to start their own process and they are categorized as secondary customers. If in case of Sales Order Process, the output is sent to Finance, the inventory team as well as the purchase department for arranging for purchase of bought out item or to the finance for credit control and check, all these departments become secondary Customers. It helps to understand and specify the importance of the output to the Secondary Customers and review the quality of output and efficiency of output as well.

  • Indirect Customers - It helps to identify and list down all the indirect customers that the chosen process affects or serves through its output so that the overall effect of the process output can be made known to the team that is involved in operations. Understanding the bigger picture and the effect of operational efficiency and effectiveness of the process that they carry out would be understood well and the team stands to realize the importance of their performance on the entire business operation. In case of Sales Order Process, the indirect customers can be many including the Manufacturing, the Packing, Transportation Team and the Warehouse etc.

  • External Customers - In the case of Sales Order process, the external customers may also be involved as the beneficiaries of updates and alerts. If the dealers or the end customer is to receive an update on the Sales Order Processing status or Order Confirmation, such outputs would need to be identified and covered in the process details.

In all of the above cases, it is important that the PIT asks questions on who uses the output, how the customer uses the output received and the effect of the quality and correctness of the output on the customer’s process. It helps to understand the current status in terms of quality of output, the errors, the feedback and correction process that is currently operative.

Covering the process in detail, noting down and identifying the inputs, the outputs as well as the customers that the process serves helps to establish the As Is situation which will form the basis for process improvement.

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