Business process modelling techniques: why, what and how?
Business process modelling techniques are a tried and tested way to to improve business processes. With this in mind, you may already have heard of the concept, or even participated in process modelling projects for your business in the past.
For the uninitiated, business process modelling allows you to map your existing processes, providing you with a visual representation of how your business operates from start to finish – and giving you the tools necessary to understand, analyse and improve how your organisation works going forward.
If your business is experiencing challenges at specific points in the chain, or even if things are running relatively smoothly but you want to improve (surely an approach that any successful business would have?) then getting back to basics and articulating workflows is a key tool in your arsenal.
Business process modelling: where to start?
A common mistake when getting started with process mapping projects is getting hung up on how things currently operate. To this, we say why waste time on how things are if the aim of the project is to work towards how things could be?
One place to start might be to ask yourself the following questions:
- What are you doing now?
- What are you doing that is non-essential?
- What are you doing that you can do better?
- What are you not doing that you should be doing?
You can probably describe what your business does in a few sentences, but for the purposes of the exercise, you need to consider the collection of tasks that run from start to finish and that lead to your products arriving with the customer. In other words, you need to think deeply about your processes in order to visualise them in their entirety.
It is easy to forget that even the most efficient processes can be non-essential if they do not lead you closer to your end goal or are replicated at multiple points along the chain. This exercise allows you to identify redundant process and remove them.
Don’t be afraid to be ambitious and think outside the box. If you refuse to stretch the possibilities of your business during the process modelling stage, when else will you reach for better outcomes?
Business process modelling techniques: benefits
Business process modelling allows your business to get back to basics and ensure that your processes are aligned in driving you towards the desired results.
With more efficient processes, the expectation is that waste will be reduced, time will be freed up and costs will be lowered – leading to happier staff and bigger profits.
But what does this mean in real terms?
First of all, solid business process modelling techniques equip your business with objective information that allows for more rigorous analysis of where things are going wrong and how they could be better. Rather than relying on subjective opinion that differs between teams, you can rely on workflows that are understood and agreed upon by all.
Paving the way for process automation
Successful businesses automate processes whenever possible to save time and resources and reduce waste. However, in order to automate, you will first need to understand your processes and define them accurately.
Good process modelling allows a business to confirm that the process itself is necessary before articulating the rules that are necessary for automation.
Process modelling allows you to optimise existing ways of work. With a more efficient system, you can rely on producing the desired outcomes with regularity, minimising errors and reducing the need to repeat work. With consistently excellent outcomes, your business can cut costs and direct resources that were tied up in correcting mistakes or wasting time elsewhere.
Business Process Modelling: The CBO way
Now you understand what business process modelling is and how it can help your business, what does it look like in real terms?
At Clear Business Outcome, our approach is to provide the customer with ‘best practice’ process models and work instructions that are refined to suit your business style.
This means that we use the ERP software itself as the process modelling tool – starting with a Proof of Concept model based on template processes and sample customer data.
Once this is in place, then we can move towards refining the software to better support your specific processes through tools such automation of tasks.
Finally, the work instructions can be amended to reflect the updated approach.
What makes our approach the best?
This approach compresses the timescales by combining multiple steps otherwise required:
- We reduce the time and effort required to define future state processes by giving the customer more than a blank sheet of paper
- We amalgamate the process modelling effort with that required to become familiar with the ERP system
- We reduce the tendency to over-customise the system that occurs when customers design solutions to problems that no longer exist – or design a solution that replicates the present model
- We only design processes that are supportable by the system – we use our expertise to get the system and your business working hand-in-hand
Working with CBO, you can expect to work with expert consultants in Epicor Kinetic ERP – a high-performance ERP system built with manufacturers in mind.
Our knowledgeable team boasts decades of experience, not only within Epicor, but in business and manufacturing specifically, so you know you will be selecting a partner that is sensitive to the challenges of your industry and can support you in achieving your goals.
Are you carrying out business process modelling to prepare for an ERP project? Our consultants can offer expert advice on the benefits of Epicor Kinetic ERP and how you can squeeze the most from your processes going forward. Get in touch for a chat here.