How to Implement Successful Business Process Improvements (BPI)

The demand to improve your business processes continues to increase as expectations change, new technologies emerge and competition grows. An effective way to establish continous improvement within your organization is to conduct regular business process improvements (BPI). When implemented successfully, the results can be measured in the enhancement of product quality, customer loyalty, increased productivity and increased profit. 

Business processes can be formal or informal and touch a variety of company functions: information technology, employee development and training, customer service satisfaction, etc. Regardless of the process you are trying to enhance, they are all designed to streamline the way you and your team work. This post will focus on incremental process change, aimed at improving existing processes.

1) Identify the Need for Change: The first step in the BPI process is to identify which processes you want to improve. A useful way to discover improvement opportunities is by conducting a process audit. A process audit is an examination of results to determine whether the activities, resources and behaviours that cause them are being managed efficiently and effectively. The audit will also identify current issues or potential risks for your company.

2) Analyze the Process: Once you have decided which process you are going to improve you need to investigate the problems within the process. This way you can fully understand the process from A-Z and set realistic improvement objectives. Regardless of the tool you choose for analysis, consider the following questions:

  • Where do team members or clients get frustrated?
  • Which steps in the process create roadblocks?
  • Which step requires the most time, or causes the most delays?
  • Where do costs go up and/or quality go down?

3) Redesign & Acquire Support: The third step in the process is possbly one of the most important stages as the success of the project hinges on managerial support. At this stage you need to clearly present the necessity for change and how it impacts the organization. It is crucial that management understands the need for change to ensure they will support the recommendations.

4) Implement and Communicate Change: With the process analysis phase completed you need to plan and manage the rolling out of your new process carefully. Allocate time for dealing with potential troubles or consider running a pilot project first to help check for potential issues before implementing it across other departments or branches. People can be resistant to change, so communication will be key in obtaining their support. Also, after you roll out the new process, remember to closely monitor how things are working in the weeks or months that follow to ensure that the new process is working as expected. 

With everyone following an efficient process, less errors or delays will occur and staff and customers will feel more satisfied.