Article: Work towards your company.s goal and purpose by documenting your Business Processes

April 26, 2011

All over the world, businesses are talking about the benefits around documenting the Businesses Processes. The benefits are obvious and are an ongoing process that should be performed regularly since activities in the organizations are changing.
How come most organizations, especially the smaller, are disregarding this fact, even though they know that the benefits are often paid off immediately?

Business Process Management (BPM) – something for the larger organizations, smaller companies or for everyone?
It is always good to know what your company is doing, why and in what order it should be done. This is not only to be able to enhance performance around everything that is done in the daily work, but also to be able to predict what needs to be done when specific activities turn up, like for example employment of new coworkers.

Business Process Management should be done with a few different focuses.

First you need to identify what is being done in specific situations. To be able to do this the best way, you should identify why you are doing things and what you wish to achieve.
Most organizations have a goal and purpose with the existence of the company. But, often the daily activities are not tied to these goals and purposes.

Let me give you an example:
“Andrew runs a company creating software to enhance security in businesses. He has set the purpose for his company to ‘Provide security to small and medium-size businesses in the US’ and the goal to ‘Be the obvious choice of supplier in 2012 for security software for companies below 300 employees within the US by supplying high quality software with brilliant customer service’.
Andrew has 3 employees in the customer support department and they are working between 8am – 5pm with lunch break between 12.30pm – 1.30pm. His business is located in New York. The employees are answering the calls as quick as they can and always have around 50 cases to work with. At lunch time they get in average 5 calls to the answering machine and in the mornings they have in average 20 calls. They don’t have any set up rules, but take care of the issues as soon as they come in. The employees feel stressed all the time since they have a lot of issues to take care of. They also feel that the situation is unbearable since their manager is on to them all the time to keep the list of issues to a minimum. They sometimes get emails from their customers where they ask why they have not received any reply.”

This is a very common scenario in companies all over.
If we look a bit closer on this example we can see a couple of obvious things that can be looked at.

1. Andrew has a goal of having a brilliant customer service. He lets the employees have lunch break at the same time and only plans the opening hours for the east coast.
There are 25 people who wants help by leaving a message on the answering machine and probably a lot of people who wishes to have help but don’t leave a message.

2. The personnel have a lot of work all the time but don’t have guidance in how to do the work. They do the best they can, but still feel stressed all the time and are probably not happy about the work they have achieved.

By identifying the work processes and map them to the company goal and purpose, Andrew will easily get to the conclusion that it would be best to keep a schedule between the employees where one of them is always working during lunch. Probably Andrew will create the schedule the way that the opening hours are until 8pm, meaning he will cover the west coast as well. This will probably reduce the amounts of calls coming on the answering machine 90%, meaning he will have much happier customers.

The Business Processes Maps will also help to identify exactly how the work should be done in the customer support division. This will bring up a lot of more questions, but this way the personnel will be able to identify in what process they feel that they need more help. It will also help them to become more efficient because they know exactly what to do all the time.

Business Process Management is recommended to be performed in conjunction with someone who is not deeply involved in the work done in the company. The reason for this is that questions are asked that are not otherwise considered. This doesn’t mean that the support should come from outside the organization, even though this is recommended in most cases, but can come from expertise in other departments.

The main work is done the first time but it is important to understand that it should be gone through regularly to see that the processes are still valid. The frequency depends on how changing that part of the business is, but it is recommended to have revisions at least every 6 months.
Any suitable Business Process Management Software can be used for documentation of the processes and they should be available for all employees affected to be able to follow during the daily work.