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15 February 2018

Easy analysis of business processes

Many companies regulate their business processes. The purpose of such regulation is to bring everything to order, arrange effective communication between different employees and ensure control. Decision-makers expect all the tasks to be completed well and on time. However, are all such tasks really necessary?

how to manage business correctly

There is a difference between doing things right and doing the right things. You can combine the two by optimizing your company’s business processes.
We propose a simple approach for business process analysis that will help you get rid of excessive activities, and understand what can be improved.

Make an analysis of your process’s map. It doesn’t matter whether it is created in ELMA Designer, in the cloud BPMN.Studio, with other modeling tools or simply drawn on a piece of paper. You can use text instructions, but a map is more convenient and informative.
Without any calculations, you can analyze the process model and find ways for optimization.

Here is the main rule – to complete any task in any business process an employee takes 4 steps:

  • Perceive information.
  • Make decision.
  • Complete action.
  • Feedback (control).

Let’s consider the following example. A manager receives a task to approve an invoice. First, he or she has to understand what the invoice is for and check the corresponding document. This is the perception of information. Next, he or she can approve, cancel or put the payment on hold. This is where the decision is made.

After that, if the process is automated in an IT system, the sales rep clicks a corresponding button to complete the action. Then the feedback is received: it can be a message about the invoice being sent to the accountant or a message about the invoice being paid.

With these four steps, you can analyze any process task. This way you can understand the value of each task and see which tasks can be excluded or optimized.
Let’s take a look at a sales process in a trading company. This is a real process of one of ELMA customers: a company that sells industrial equipment. This process has been optimized later on.
workflow

Example of a sales process
The initial process is pretty simple. A sales rep registers a customer’s request and checks if the equipment is in stock. If it is in stock, the sales rep determines the total price and delivery dates. If it is out of stock, the sales rep contacts the procurement department to find out when the equipment will possibly become available.
Look at the process tasks according to the four steps that I have mentioned above.

1. Register customer request

“Register request” task
optimized workflow

  • Includes perception of information (the sales rep registers information about the customer’s request).
  • There is no decision-making.
  • There is an action (the sales rep registers the request).
  • The control is insignificant.

In case of working with end customers, the task serves its purpose. However, for working with the company’s dealers it does not work so well because of a large amount of dealers and orders.
When developing communication channels (specifically, receiving request from dealers via web services), you can get rid of request processing.

We optimized this process: now the requests are automatically sent from the web part to the BPM system and registered there.

2. Check availability

“Check availability” task

optimized workflow
The value of the task is in collecting and processing information. The employee does not make any decision nor creates data.
This linear activity can be easily automated with simple scripts, and free the employee of this duty.

3. In stock 100% gateway (condition)

In stock 100% gateway (condition)
optimized workflow

There is a condition in the process model. If the required equipment is in stock, the sales rep determines the final price, coordinates the price and the delivery date with the customer, and issues an invoice.
If a certain item is not in stock, the customer waits until it is restocked or cancels the order.

You can optimize this activity with more scenarios that add customer value. That is exactly what we did.
If the equipment is not in stock, the sales rep now offers the customer similar equipment and a discount. The results surprised us. This service turned out to be very popular. Many customers started asking sales reps to help select alternatives in order to compare and decide which equipment to purchase.

This way by adding a different scenario, the company increased the number of incoming requests and the sales went up.

Conclusion

You can analyze any business process in your company in a similar manner. This is just the first step, but it can show you possibilities for optimization. Here are some simple ideas to help you:

  • Evaluate process tasks: consider the completeness of data received by executors. This step is important because it usually takes up more time than expected.
    Does the task executor receive documents, permissions, and information instantly, or does he or she have to go through several software systems, make phone calls and email colleagues to gather the information?
  • Think about the value of the task in the process. Often processes contain empty decision-making activities, for example, useless approvals. Such activities should be optimized.
  • Automate routine to make work easier. Manual data processing tasks can be automated with business apps. You can help the employees in case of difficult decisions by creating certain business rules; for example, by automating verification of conditions (if the invoice amount is higher than X, and the current account balance is at least Y, then the invoice can be paid).

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Ekaterina Mokrushina
Ekaterina
Mokrushina
Marketing Specialist