Every business serves a customer and a need. As such, the success of a business relies on how well a company can provide what a customer needs to feel satisfied and hopefully remain loyal to that business. An entrepreneur or business owner can help to ensure success by defining and designing ideal business processes.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about business processes and other related terms and tools of the trade.
What exactly is a business process, and how does it function? Here are some important definitions:
Just like your people make your business what it is, so do your business processes. Having well-defined business processes can allow for smooth operations, reduced bottlenecks, and increased customer/employee satisfaction.
All in all, a business process is the first step in helping to build a profitable and long-standing company.
Having well-defined business processes can also help set your business up to achieve:
Businesses are dynamic and ever-changing. There are many different types of processes that help them operate day after day.
To continue to deliver goods and services promptly to customers, it’s useful to take a look at your business processes across every category in which they exist.
Business processes fall into these following broad categories:
Each business process should be purposefully designed to minimise costs and maximise output to meet customer needs. To ensure that business processes are operating as they are intended to, consider placing one person as a manager to be in charge of each process.
To construct business processes, follow these steps to success:
Let’s look at an example of a business process that most organisations can relate to, namely hiring a new employee. The process may look something like this:
As you can see, at each step, someone is made responsible for ensuring the process is moving forward to the next consecutive step.
Naturally, every business process is dependent on its intended goal. However, ideal business processes contain these characteristics:
Many terms are related to business processes that are crucial to understanding to run a successful operation.
Here, we will define some of the most outstanding key terms:
1. Business process automation: Business process automation is the incorporation of automation tools to manage day-to-day tasks. BPA replaces the need for human intervention as it is programmed to follow the steps that a person would have otherwise taken to complete a task. The best types of processes for BPA are those that are: repetitive, consistent and prone to error. Automation solutions like SolveXia support BPA replacing by automating low-value manual tasks with high-value analytical tasks. BPA also maps out the process of improving compliance by creating clear audit trails and reducing bottlenecks by reducing dependency on key staff to perform specific tasks because the process is mapped out simply in the system.
2. Business process management (BPM): BPM is how business designs, edits, and analyses its core processes. To do so effectively, every department plays a role in analysing their operations and seeing both the details and the big picture. BPM is systematic and continuous to meet needs as businesses evolve. There are software solutions that help implement BPM.
3. Business process monitoring: Business process monitoring is the action of reviewing and analysing current business processes to identify pitfalls and successes. It falls under the umbrella of business process management, and some consider it to be the most critical part because it opens the door for improvement.
4. Business process visibility: This refers to the ability to be able to see every step of a process at any given time.
5. Business process mapping: A business process map is a visual representation of the process flow. It includes each step, who is responsible, what the process achieves and how it is measured for success.
6. Business process improvement: Business process improvement is an analytical exercise to analyse existing processes. It shines a light on areas that need improvement and provides the methodology for how to enact a new or updated process.
7. Business process reengineering: Business process reengineering is a radical step to redesign core business processes to spur significant improvements in productivity, quality and timeliness. To perform business process reengineering, it’s as if a company is creating a clean slate from which to design the processes to provide more value to the customer. It starts with breaking down the organisation into cross-functional teams. Then, that step is followed by implementing technology to help with better decision-making.
8. Business process optimisation: Business process optimisation is the act of changing a process to optimise a specific parameter while remaining in line with constraints. For example, one of the most common goals of business process optimisation is to lower costs.
9. Business process integration: Business process integration is how a business can combine and connect systems and information to function most effectively.
Whether you are a large or small business, you have many hands touching your daily work. In this way, things could become messy and more error-prone. This can create bottlenecks and critical person dependencies.
To avoid such downfalls, you can leverage business process software such as data automation to help ensure smooth business processes. The benefits of business process software span:
Let’s take a look at some of the most common business processes.
There are so many other business processes that play a prominent role in a business’ functioning. Without going into further detail, it still pays to make sure you establish processes for the following, too:
Like a living and breathing organism, businesses rely on internal and external processes to keep them alive. Understanding the ins and outs of your business processes can set you up for success and help to protect you against failure. To best support business processes and efficient operations, you can leverage technology and automation tools to help streamline such processes and work alongside your employees to maximise efficiency.
Looking for ideas for process improvement? Read these process improvement examples and best-in-class tips to make your business run better.
There are many continuous improvement methods to choose from. Check out this summary of your options, and how automation solutions can help.