Preparing for Business Process Improvement Implementation

Business Process Improvement programs are the favorites with most corporate Organizations which use it as a tool to help change the business operations and processes with a view to bring about improved efficiencies and effectives combined with a proven business impact and enable the Organization to rise to a higher bench mark and gain that competitive edge too.

BPI as an Organization initiative has got to be sponsored and owned by the senior management comprising of Business Unit heads and other management leaders. The Executive Implementation Team will consist of this senior leadership who will choose the critical processes that need improvement and set the expectations in terms of objectives, goals and timelines to be achieved through the BPI implementation program.

Setting the stage for BPI rollout involves not only setting the objectives and other parameters for the project with clear cut expectations, it also involves communicating the BPI roll out to the entire Organization throughout and ensuring that the employees align themselves with the program and are aware of the expectations too. Such communication and endorsement helps remove obstacles and roadblocks during implementation.

Once the initial kick off has been completed, we come to the next phase of Preparing Ground for Process Improvement. The entire exercise of Business Process Improvement calls for a structured approach to the improvement activities, with an aim to minimizing the time lines as well as minimizing the disruption to the existing and ongoing operations too.

Process Implementation Plan

The candidate identified as the Process Owner holds the responsibility to form the Process improvement team, coach them regarding BPI and also prepare a detailed implementation plan. The main components of the implementation plan include:

  • Identifying the boundaries and scope from the processes selected for BPI.
  • Drawing up Block Diagram of the selected Process.
  • Draw up list of assumptions.
  • Draw up the timelines for implementation.

Identification of Process Boundaries

Most of the business operations consist of network of multiple processes which are inter connected or sequential or overlapping and interactive too. Such processes involve more than one function and multiple departments as well. Therefore there exists a need to elaborate on the particular process that has been chosen for improvement and to define the ownership at each stage and identify the boundaries clearly. In some cases the processes may need to be redrawn with more clarity on the various links and ownerships too.

Take the case of Invoicing and Dispatch Process. In most of the Organizations, the Sales Order Team would be sitting in sales office and taking care of order booking and allocations. The process then continues with the dispatch team which processes the allocated orders, obtain finance clearance, pick from inventory, consolidate orders, raise invoice, arrange for packing and effect the dispatch.

The process further goes to the logistics department which follows up for delivery and uploads the proof of delivery into the system. In this process we have the sales order management, the inventory controllers, the finance as well as billing and logistics team involved in the entire process.

In many cases the inventory and billing may be handled by a third party service provider and from a third party location. In such cases, the process would need to be elaborated clearly showing the ownership of each and every process step as well as sub processes and fixing the boundaries before attempting to introduce any process improvement.

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