You should always have change in mind when analysing your business processes.
As we’ve explored before, business process improvement helps businesses find places where they could improve the accuracy and speed of their service or product.
On the other hand, business process optimisation is designed to help your organisation find ways to save time and money.
What Is Business Process Optimisation
Business Process Optimisation, also known as BPO, is one of the final steps in a Business Process Management checklist.
Managing processes involves:
- Identifying a process you are looking to understand better in your company
- Then breaking it down via business process mapping
- Analysing the map to find places for optimisation
- Improving your process by taking the necessary steps
Although both processes should be ongoing for businesses to see success, there are subtle differences between the two.
For instance, optimisation is focused on efficiency and diminishing costs, whereas improvement focuses on accuracy and consistency. It plays out as follows:
With improvement, you may be adding more to your tech stack. Optimisation instead consolidates and removes that which is not being used, instead of adding.
Both optimisation and improvement involve business process reengineering – that is to say, re-visiting how the processes are run and changing it based on the analysis of the process maps for more and better efficiency.
The changes should lead to better and quicker interaction with existing customers, speedy replies to new prospects, better internal communication within a company, and the lowering of costs that your company may be looking to eliminate.
At its core, business process optimisation is about helping you as a business owner find places to reduce spending. As an example from the world of manufacturing, it’s about reducing lean waste – essentially, any action or steps you take as a manufacturer that does not result in value to the customer. Because it means that the step or action is not being paid for.
If you make too much of a particular product, it results in additional inventory, space, and hours worked that do not get paid for by a customer, but that you pay for as a business.
Business process optimisation is about helping you find the spots in your process that may lead to such a mistake, and come up with ways to avoid falling into such a trap.
How Mapping Leads to Business Process Optimisation
We’ve covered before why businesses should map processes.
Just as with improvement, mapping reveals the best places for optimisation to take place along your process.
Your goal with business process optimisation is efficiency and cost-cutting. You need to be a detective and investigate your own processes to find where this can happen.
In your daily tasks as a company leader, it is unlikely that you are aware of every single step everyone is taking every day. If you start mapping your processes and collecting them in a shareable, cloud-based process library, you can have a better idea of what it takes for your business to run.
Mapping processes is a great way to have a big-picture idea instead of only being aware of the details of your own tasks.
By mapping, you learn how what you are doing fits with what other departments are doing. And you learn if it is not fitting correctly.
An example of how this may play out is the following scenario:
Having mapped your processes, you discover that there are multiple people from different departments filling out the same form.
Because they were each doing it without communicating with others, they were unaware that this task was being completed several times. A possible reason for this is that they are all using a different tool to complete the form, but they are also not communicating with each other correctly.
To optimise your process in such a situation, you can do several things.
Firstly, you can reduce the number of tools used to one. Then, you can delegate the task to fill in the form to simply one department. The others can simply check how it has been filled in or if it’s missing by the time it gets to their contribution to the overall process.
Finally, you can re-evaluate why so many people in different departments of your company had a role that included filling out this form.
By doing this, you can discover additional time for employees that can then be delegated to other tasks, or you might find that you should reduce your workforce at this time. Role redundancy is something that can very easily go undetected if you don’t take the time to map your processes.
At the same time, you can also discover new services you can offer your existing clients for upselling by assigning these team members new tasks. Or you can ask them to go find new clients to increase your business.
By mapping out the process, you are able to identify areas and steps that are not getting paid for. You can then brainstorm ways to ensure that you do get paid for even seemingly internal costs. Even during uncertain economic times, by having a clear picture of what each team member or department is contributing, you can find the bottlenecks in your processes and optimise them accordingly.
This extra time you have discovered can be devoted to demonstrating the value of your product or service to current or potential clients, thereby once again resulting in all your steps being paid for.
For instance, those same employees that were all filling out the form for x amount of time in their day?
They can now devote themselves to reading client feedback, using it to better the product or service, or researching new industries or client profiles you can have your sales team reach out to.
Optimisation should lead to a re-structuring of both the process steps and associated responsibilities.
Cutting Costs With Skore
But how does one go about mapping a business process?
In its origin, this was done with pen and paper and hours-long workshop sessions. The map would then be put away in binders and difficult to find again. Or, there was just one person with all the knowledge. That knowledge would be lost once they left the company or retired.
Even if it was preserved digitally, it would depend on what notation style or system they had used, and whether everyone had access to the files.
It is very easy to make business process mapping a more complicated task than it actually is.
This is why Skore exists today.
Our software is made using Universal Process Notation (UPN) as its base.
The choice to use this notation was deliberate: simple is best when it comes to process mapping, as there are many players and steps involved. The less additional work and study required for everyone to understand and follow along, the better.
With Skore, our clients are able to run process mapping workshops with stakeholders or clients easily and breezily. As it is a collaborative, cloud-based software, multiple users can contribute to the map itself over time or during the workshop.
And because it is so easy to use and understand, it is easy to find places to optimise your process.
A great example of this is studying your payroll process and finding spots that result in more time worked than needed.
As the article outlines, if you do not account for certain specific occasions in your initial process ideation, you will simply cause more issues down the line. Your clients are not paying for any missteps or overtime employees might have to commit to should anything go wrong.
For a real-life example of the power of process mapping with Skore when it comes to business process optimisation, we can turn to our client, AI service provider Lawrence & Wedlock.
By utilizing Skore to map out their processes with their own clients, their team were able to cut down discovery time by an entire week. They also were able to switch from using multiple tools to collect information to simply using Skore for their needs, thereby cutting both costs and time. Their efforts are now better spent taking care of even more clients and providing additional services.
Still unsure of how this might play out for your particular needs?
Feel free to read through more success stories in our Case Studies.
Or you can always browse through our process template library to see which process will work for your needs and how it would help you optimise your business for the coming year.
Our mapping software has successfully helped clients save on 80 days worth of waste in their business and recoup costs they weren’t even aware they had – and you could be next!
Business process optimisation is an important, ongoing task companies should spend time on.
Especially whenever the economic situation becomes uncertain: optimisation over improvement is the way to go.
This is because BPO helps make your business more efficient while cutting costs or unnecessary expenditures.
There is no better way to do this than by taking the time to map out and analyse your business processes. And there is no better software to do this with than Skore.
If you’re interested in easily understood, collaborative process mapping to help you reduce costs, make sure to get in touch with us!