Business Process Analysis : Why is it important and how is it done?

 

Business Process Analysis (BPA) is a methodology that thoroughly scrutinizes an organisation’s processes. BPA is not in itself the solution to inefficient processes but it should definitely be the starting point of any continuous-improvement project.

Process Analysis determines your current as-is baseline for performance and ensures you are solving the right problem in the best way possible. The last thing you want to do is invest in a new tool, hoping it will solve the problem by itself, or automate an inefficient process.

So how do you do BPA and what do you need to take into account? Below are a few guidelines to ensuring you get the most value out of this exercise.

Purpose

Target KPIsFirstly, it is important to understand why this process exists and how it aligns to the overall strategy of the business. This makes it very easy to identify redundant steps in the current process. It will also ensure that any proposed solution aligns completely with this goal, increasing efficiency as much as possible.

 

Measurable results

ResultsSecondly, it is just as important to understand how it will be measured whether the process is achieving the goal. This can be split in two measurable performance indicators for the process:

  • What measurable output must the process perform to achieve this goal consistently?
    (Example, 10 000 invoices per month with no errors.)
  • How can the process be measured to be at peak performance?
    (Example, an automated process that only requires an accountant to touch transactions once and a financial manager to review the entire result once.)

Inputs & Outputs

Inputs and OutputsYou need to determine which persons or processes give input into an existing process? Who or what are reliant on the outputs of each process? Asking these questions ensures all role-players in a process are identified and their requirements are catered for.

You’ll gain and understanding of the type of data used and the format required. Ultimately, this helps you to track how the different inputs are affecting performance.

 

Process Map

Process IconThis is a whole topic by itself but mapping out the process visually adds a lot of value to the analysis. Doing this in 5-7 steps for the whole process will already make it much easier to identify obvious inefficiencies.

Don’t get stuck in too much detail. You can always refine at a later stage or dive even deeper. Also, focus on the process as it is currently and not how you want it to be. Blurring these two will lead to a less effective solution.

 

Deviations & Exceptions

Best practise iconBeware of deviations and exceptions to the standard process. These are sometimes what requires the most time and manual intervention. Reducing this can sometimes be a quick and impactful win.

 

Review

Review & ReportReviewing is an important quality step in any process. More review does not equal more quality. Understand what review requires how much visibility at which step in the process to ensure this remains an effective function of the process.

 

Report

Report

Most process end up with a report for example, management packs, financial statements, statutory submissions etc. If you exclude reporting from the process you will have an efficient process but a very unhappy person that still has to draft a report manually.

 

Documentation

DocumentationAs you go through the analysis, ensure you document systematically along the way. This document will assist greatly in compliance, training, monitoring improvements, baseline for further projects and for building a business case to obtain funding for improvements.

 

Performing a thorough business process analysis may require a bit of investment upfront but will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. You’ll ensure you are addressing the root cause of inefficiencies and implementing the best solution for your business. This is not a once off exercise, recurring analysis is the first step towards continuous improvement.

Speak to SynergERP for help with your processes.