Controlling Process "Rework" with Lean Six Sigma Practices

by MK Strupe on Fri, Jun 12, 2009 @ 01:43 PM

An interesting slant on process efficiencies I am seeing is controlling the amount of "rework" that has to be done in order to change or improve errors in existing processes.  In other words, how can the "human error" factor be identified, measured, and controlled?  These questions are being asked to me, in terms of business process management, as process managers and business line directors are continuing to look to control costs, reduce process time, and improve data integrity in their business processes.  Lean Six Sigma was originated to help with these types of concerns, and applying Lean Six Sigma practices inside your corporation will enable you to identify them.  Moreover, coupling Lean Six Sigma best practices with BPM execution can ensure the day-to-day automated operations in your company are streamlined.  Consider the following concerns in the following sample process:

Workflow Automation process template

  • The recipient of the Provider Acceptance step may be unsure of the data he/she is reviewing and simply submits the task forward (where the Justification step recipient will be forced to review incomplete information)
  • The recipient of the Justification step elects to not work on the "hard" tasks and lets those tasks sit in inbox for prolonged periods of time
  • The recipient of the Provider Acceptance step submits incomplete data forward in the business process, where the tasks will simply be returned to him/her by the Justification step recipient (and consider this cyclic task processing could occur multiple times)

A BPMS can help cut down on the human "rework" by providing controlled data input interfaces, and ensuring forms cannot be submitted forward until the right information is provided.  A full list of the Ultimus BPMS features that provide value to the Lean Six Sigma mandates can be found in Ultimus' Lean Six Sigma white paper

Additionally, as part of the business process construction, the times and costs associated with each step in the process is recorded.  This results in time, costs, and efficiency reports being able to be generated and reported upon.  By having insight in workload, productivity, and how business processes are flowing, you can have the necessary visibility into your business processes.  Is process "rework" a current concern inside your corporation?  If so, have you consider implementing a BPMS to help drive your Lean Six Sigma initiatives?


Mary Katherine Strupe
Marketing Coordinator

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This post was written by MK Strupe