A pragmatic view on business process management typically focuses on solving business pains, providing benefits and satisfying customers without making a science project out of a process solution. As such, the benefits of process automation remain and are complemented by a number of benefits that deal with implementation and change.
What always strikes me the most when speaking to people in the business process management space is the dedication to discover and model business processes in detail and in doing so, spending tens of thousands of dollars and years identifying possible business flows, rules, exceptions, redesigning them, getting employee buy-in etc. without even touching a single benefit of process management and saving a single dollar.
Discovering the process flow is an important step in automating processes; but where do you start, and more importantly, where do you STOP? Let’s focus on the goals first and answer this question with the benefits in mind.
The reason for the automation of business processes is to solve business pains, increase the efficiency of your operations and improve customer experience.
With pragmatic BPM, you can:
- Lower costs of business process management and therefore spend your budget wisely
- Decrease time and reap benefits earlier
- Remain flexible and evolve faster making you more competitive
- Develop a process and change management culture for further improvements
Looking at these benefits in detail:
Cost of implementation – Lower cost of BPM and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
The more complex your implementation, the greater the cost of business process management and the higher your Total Cost of Ownership. Implementing a complex solution and maintaining it only makes sense when the profits exceed the costs. This is a simple business calculation; You can ask yourself what the marginal benefit of an additional specification within a business process management investment is. If it is zero or negative, it doesn’t make sense. Therefore, start simple and let it grow, rather than boiling the ocean.
Time to production – Reap benefits earlier and reduce risk
The faster you discover your process, the sooner you can reap the benefits of process automation. Efficiency gains easily compensate adjustments to the solution required by the incomplete process map and changes that happen to business processes on a daily basis. Make sure you are on the right path before going into too much detail and thereby risk the success of your project. In addition, it is more likely to achieve a high return on investment.
Flexibility and Agility – Stay ahead of your competition
A detailed and complex solution might enable you to react to foreseen circumstances faster and more dynamic, but makes it more difficult to react to all other situations. Google is changing the game plan for advertising daily. New applications, new hardware and software, new auction models and ad quality indicators – no wonder competitors have a hard time keeping up. Change is imperative and becomes a nightmare when having to change complex systems with all the exceptions and dependencies. Stay flexible and agile by implementing only the most important exceptions.
Change Management – Creating a culture of improvement
While process modeling brings teams together to develop a process, the task isn’t completed when the process is discovered. The process needs to adapt to changes, improvements need to be implemented, rules need to be adjusted and extensions need to be developed. If you really want to do business process management right, create a culture of improvement and allow for everyone to participate in improving business processes whenever and wherever they can.
So to answer the question: It is essential that you don’t forget to discover everything necessary to automate a process and include exceptions and automate steps as they come up over time, but leave room for exceptions and don’t try to implement a procedure, if they happen less than 1% of the time.
Director Corporate Business Development
Manufacturers use the custom quote process to provide their customers with prices for individually customized products, and cost and time estimations for production. The process covers all necessary tasks and decisions from the initial inquiry to quote creation and tracking.
From past experience, we have determined three main challenges that clients have faced in this area:
- Weak response times leading to a decrease in customer satisfaction
As time is a critical success factor in sales, clients found their customers and prospects turning to competitors for quotes and orders. Therefore, they experienced a static or disproportional low increase in sales.
- Low quote or order rates resulting in high cost per quote
Not all inquiries are suitable for the organization. Providing quotes that are not suitable to customers is as ineffective as being selective about inquiries late in the process. Their closing and quoting rates were low, adding to the cost per quote.
- High workload for coordinating quote generation requires additional staff
Coordinating the input from different departments and locations manually, including follow-ups and status updates, created high workload and headcount as well as limited the capability to grow. Client organizations encountered their employees being frustrated by the amount of unproductive and repetitive work they were facing
The custom quote solution addresses these challenges by automatically coordinating the whole process, supporting the organization with automatic checks for profitability and feasibility, controlling time limits and escalations, as well as reporting for greater transparency.
In the past, clients were forced to extend their enterprise resource planning software (like SAP, Oracle and many others) with e-mail, Excel and Word to receive input from the individual departments, calculate prices based on the information provided, and create offers easily. By applying the custom quote solution, companies were able to address these challenges and achieve the following significant improvements:
- Response times were reduced from an average of three weeks to 24 hours.
- Staff for coordinating quotes was reduced from 15 to 1, allowing the company to instantly allocate 14 resources to customer service.
- Number of orders doubled.
If you find it challenging to grow your business for organizational reasons, you may want to look at your quoting process and see if there is room for improving efficiency and customer experience.
Director Corporate Business Development