Business Process Improvement Plan - Making a Beginning with BPI

Business Process Improvement has gained ground in all sectors of business as an on-going program that is implemented from time to time. Periodically business organizations embrace this program to reduce the barriers that create obstacles to the work flow as well as to remove redundant processes that are outdated and do not add value to the current business operations. Organizations benefit from BPI in qualitative terms as well as quantitative terms for it helps reduce costs, increase efficiencies as well as reduce wastage and more importantly enhance the customer orientation and interface with the entire Organization.

Business process improvement exercise involves the entire Organization, all its departments and processes across all geographical locations and business units. Launching a Business Process Improvement initiative would need the active support and sponsorship of the top management. Generally seen, BPI involves five distinct stages as under:

Business Process Improvement Plan

Preparing for BPI Program to be unveiled in the Organization calls for the following actions:

BPI Program Actions

Program Initiation

As in the case of any strategic decision making by an Organization, the BPI program would first need to be discussed, adapted and initiated by the senior management of the Organization. Normally the Companies call for a meeting of the senior management directors and the Business Unit heads who will ultimately own the BPI process. The meeting called for would cover discussions on the following:

  • Over view of BPI Concept
  • Relevance of the BPI program in the Organization at current times
  • Establish the objectives and possible areas that would be improved with the BPI Program and the consequent overall benefit to the Business Unit

The meeting should be concluded with an approval of the program and the acceptance of sponsorship by the Business Heads. The meeting should also form and finalize a Task Force or an Executive Improvement Team and define the total responsibility of the team to initiate, implement, monitor and conclude the entire BIT program.

Appointing BPI Leader or BPI Team

Once the BPI program is underway, the entire implementation can take from a few weeks to more than a year to run its complete course depending upon the business processes involved. Though the Business Unit Heads own the BPI program, they would not be able to focus on the program and be engaged in designing and implementing the program.

Therefore it becomes necessary to have an experienced senior manager or an equivalent rank individual with the right background, qualification and skill sets to be appointed as the BPI Leader for the entire duration of the program. This BPI Leadership would be a full time job lasting the entire tenure of the program duration envisaged.

An ideal BPI leader should have the necessary technical as well as overall business operations exposure and experience in the Organization with the right soft skills and attitude to work with people across all levels and lead the teams.

It would not be practical to expect the BPI champion or leader to be able to initiate, design and implement the entire program on his own without the relevant training and orientation. This is where the management would need to engage external business process consultants and practitioners to work with the BPI leader on designing the program. It also helps to send the BPI champion to attend few BPI training sessions to equip him to manage the program.

Thus the stage needs to be set at the Management level to recognize the need for BPI program, to make a conscious decision to adapt the program and to initiate action to form a Management team and initiate the first action of appointing a BPI champion in the Organization.

Depending upon the size of the Organization and span of activity, the management may choose to appoint a team of two or three members as BPI Champions.

Needless to mention that once the BPI plan has been accepted by the senior management and the Business Unit heads, the consequent costs involved in the program would be provided for and earmarked for the said purpose.

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