Data > Process > Metrics

What is BPM?


There must be a better way

Have you ever said to yourself, “there must be a better way of doing this?” At your workplace, have you ever sat back and wondered why certain things happen as they do? ‘Why does that department always give us information that we have rework?’ ‘Don’t they realize how much work this creates for us?’

Business Process Management (BPM) examines your enterprise by watching how the work flows through your business. In many businesses little thought is given to the ‘ideal’ flow of materials and information. Do we have too much inventory? Or not enough? Are we utilizing our software applications well? How could we be doing this faster? Cheaper? Are reports necessary or redundant? Are customer expectations being met? Executives and managers often don’t have time (or in some cases the vision) to focus on the chain of events that create value in a company.

Value is what BPM is really all about. The activities in your processes are your value-chain; the steps that take inputs of materials or information and create something of greater value for an end-customer.

Create value, eliminate waste

Creating an efficient and productive company requires limiting waste and having everyone involved ‘pulling in the same direction’. In order to do this, everyone must first know what the direction is! Next they must be clear on what they are expected to do, and on how they are measured.

Businesses will have ten’s or even hundreds of processes running through their company. Depending on the (debatable) level of detail you want to go to, mapping of business process can be very useful and clarifying for everyone involved. Process maps are used as; communication tools to better understand activities in a process, or to identify areas for optimization in a process improvement initiative.

If you imagine a typical manufacturing company making widgets that they sell to customers through their website they would likely have processes called; order process, customer acquisition process, production process, shipping process, customer retention process, and so on. Each one of these processes involves several people and includes ‘hand-off’s’ of work as the products and sales orders rolls through each department on its way to completing a sale and delivering the product.

Designing and detailing the process is useful as a communication tool and as a measurement of performance, especially when all steps in the process are focused on fulfilling the goals of the end customer of the process. This is where Lean and BPM tools become very helpful in making the process efficient; deliver what the customer needs and only what the customer needs, and eliminate any non-value added steps along the way.

Lean or BPM? It’s all CI

The debate rages with proponents of one school of thought or the other. Which is best, Lean, BPM, Six Sigma, or one of the  many others acronyms. Regardless of the preference they all fall under the umbrella of CI – Continuous Improvement. And although Lean is now claimed to be used by many more companies than other method, there are many similarities and every company that implements some of these tools will always do it in their own unique way.

Implementing Lean thinking, or a BPM approach to managing a business builds a ‘line-of-site’ for all workers and assists them in determining the value-added steps and which activities and workflows can be improved or eliminated.

Lean and BPM are excellent communication tools, helping to ensure everyone understands their role and contribution to the company’s goals. More importantly having a business process perspective on your business builds value by eliminating many forms of waste and focusing time and effort toward productive tasks.

JMM Process Management Consulting are BPM experts with experience in capturing, analysing, documenting and redesigning business processes. We can help you identify areas with the most potential for streamlining process activities and create a plan to improve your current systems.