Business Process Improvement (BPI)

Business Process Improvement (BPI) is an approach designed to help organizations redesign their existing business operations to accomplish significant improvement in production. Effective BPI helps to generate promising results in operational efficiency and customer focus. BPI, when implemented by means of a structured methodology, helps companies to reduce their operational costs and cycle time, enhance customer service and improve the quality of their products or services.[1]

Steps to Business Process Improvement

  1. Identify the Need for Change: The first step in the BPI process is to identify the need for change. A useful way to discover improvement opportunities is by conducting a process audit. The audit will identify current issues or potential risks for your company. From the audit report, you will be able to prioritize your areas for business improvement. At this stage, you should also review how each process impacts your organization, resources, and stakeholders (employees, customers, students, partners, suppliers, etc.). [2]
  2. Analyze Current Process: Once you have decided which process you are going to improve you need to analyze the current procedure. This way you can fully understand the process from A-Z and set realistic improvement objectives. Regardless of the tool you choose for analysis (process mapping, operational surveys, cause/effect analysis, etc.) you should consider the following questions:
    • What in the process is broken?
    • Which steps in the process create roadblocks?
    • Which step requires the most time to complete?
    • Which step causes the most delays?
    • Are there any steps that cause costs/resources to go up?
  3. Are there any steps that cause quality to go down?
  4. Obtain Commitment and Support: The third step in the process is to solicit senior management commitment. This is possibly the single-most important element in the process as the success of the project hinges on managerial support. At this stage, you need to clearly present the necessity for change and how it impacts the organization. It is crucial that management understands the need for change to ensure they will support recommendations. As process improvement can be time and resource-intensive upper-management support is a must.
  5. Create Improvement Strategy: With the process analysis phase completed, you need to develop your strategy. It is recommended that you include what steps in the process are broken, why and how they should be improved and any financial and resource implications. Answering how the process can be improved is a springboard to create your improvement objectives. It is recommended that you set realistic and measurable objectives that align with your overall strategic goals.

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Further Reading