There is nothing more frustrating than when there are hiccups in a process, especially ones that can easily be avoided. This morning, after hitting the snooze button one too many times, I awoke to find that something had gone terribly wrong with my coffee pot. At this point, I would like to refer back to a blog I wrote several weeks ago about automating the process of brewing coffee with a timer. While all is working well with the timer, this morning’s process hiccup was caused by human error- a factor that all processes are subject to and must take into account.
I walked sleepily into the kitchen to grab that wonderful first cup of coffee, only it wasn’t there… not in the pot anyway. Last night when the coffee was prepared and plugged into the timer, the coffee pot was not properly placed in position on the hot plate. The type of coffee maker I was using is one that can be paused mid-brew. The piece that temporarily stops the coffee from filling up the pot was half way closed. The end result was a terrible disaster including:
- An excessive amount of water in the coffee grains and on the counter
- Coffee grains in the water compartment
- And, a very empty coffee pot
As I was cleaning up the mess, I began thinking about how hiccups can be avoided in the business world by implementing a Business Process Management (BPM) Suite. Business processes are created and automated for several reasons:
- To understand the process and its structure in its entirety
- To have knowledge and understanding of process participants involved and their roles
- To ensure a steady stream of work is being processed and completed in a given time
- To yield greater visibility into critical areas of a business
Where a BPM Suite provides true value to a workflow is in its ability to attach rules and alerts to key steps of the process. In my process hiccup example above, had there been something to alert me that the coffee pot was not properly positioned, the mess, frustration and time required to clean up could have been avoided. In the business world, a process hiccup could be something as simple as forgetting to attach a document before sending the task to the next process participant or not having completed a form in its entirety. BPM Rules and Alerts are in place as check marks and take effect when something more is required.
Taking the time to set up rules and alerts is a best practice for anyone with process improvement initiatives. No matter what the industry, department or role is every process is subject to human error in some way, shape or form. Being prepared for such mishaps helps businesses prevent more serious hiccups and the costs associated with restoration.
Is your company currently using BPM Rules and Alerts to help protect your company against process hiccups?