BPM stands for 'Business Process Management' and refers to a systematic, holistic approach to management that aligns an organisation's business processes, or functions, to the needs of the client or customer. It also incorporates ways to continuously improve efficiency, quality, compliance, innovation and integration with technology. In short, it's a systematic approach to business processes that creates a leaner, more cost-effective, streamlined business. With the right BP consultants and training, an organisation’s entire culture and operations can be successfully changed for the better.
Processes, as referred to in BPM, exist at all levels of an organisation. In management, these may include corporate governance and strategic management. For the operational areas of a business these could be purchasing or manufacturing. Supporting processes will include functions such as accounting and recruitment.
When an organisation runs in a 'process-based' manner, rather than as fragmented functions, the outcome is a more cost-effective, streamlined and efficient business with an improved or entirely new culture. We've seen this proven time and time again for companies in every industry and sector. And because BPM is not a 'once off' solution, your organisation doesn't change and become stagnant, but continually improves through the methods, training and fresh understandings in place.
BPMS stands for Business Process Management System (or Suite) and refers to an automated, technology based system that supports and improves your business process management. It can allow businesses to capture, manage and deploy their operational processes and supporting information to their entire workforce and can be tailored to suit the needs of your organisation. Choosing the right BPMS is vital. Contact us for consultancy on BPMS selection for your organisation.
Process thinking is not new. In fact it can be traced back as far as the craft guilds of the 13th century. Today, it represents a convergence of several disciplines that, enabled by technology, provide orgnaisations with the ability to develop, document, improve, automate and monitor business processes.
The main disciplines and milestones affecting the development of BPM as we know it today are:
Automation / Manufacturing: Commencing with the craft guilds in the 13th century, Whitney’s development of muskets with interchangeable parts in 1798, Taylors division of labour and time studies, Fords mass production (1900s) represent the major milestones in manufacturing / automation systems development.
Scientific Management: The emergence of quality assurance as a standalone discipline in the 1920s (Shweart, Dodge, Edwards, W Edwards Deming), the emergence of Statistical Quality Control in the 1930s (Sheward) and the work of W Edwards Deming and Joseph Juran in Japan in the 1950, the development and documenting the Toyota Production System (1920-present day) – also known as Lean, and the development of Six Sigma by Bill Smith, Motorola in the 1980s established the basis for modern quality management systems.
Quality Management Systems
Using scientific management as a foundation a number of Quality Management Systems emerged, the most widely adopted ones being: The European Foundation for Quality Management (EFQM), and the ISO9000 series of standards emerged in the late 1980s. Initially, quality systems were documentation focussed. Over time, they have become process focussed. Most recently, the International Conference for Harmonization has created standards to create global quality standards in Life Sciences organisations. These standards build on the capabilities of the ISO standards and other regional Good Manufacturing Practices.
Management thinking: The work of key influencers in modern management such as, Peter Druker who developed Management by Objectives (1950s), Kaplan and Norton who developed the Balanced Scorecard (1990s), Mike Hammer Business process-re-engineering.
IT Systems: The emergence of computer science, computer systems, business applications and global networks has enabled the standardisation and automation of many business processes. Key influencers in these areas have been authors and practitioners such as Geary Rumler and Alan Brache, who commenced Business Process Management Notation standards and improvement methodologies. Today there are a number of notation methodologies and methodologies from which to choose. Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) enables the conversion of process language to programme code and it emerged initially in 2003 with its first major publication as a standard in 2007.
The primary methodologies/systems used for the management and improvement of processes are:
- Lean, which aims to maximize customer value and minimise waste.
- Six Sigma, which seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by removing the causes of defects and minimising variability in manufacturing and business processes.
- ISO Standards which ensure that products and services are safe, reliable and of good quality. ISO Standards often provide a framework for a Quality Management System.
BPM is complementary to these and any other process improvement methodologies. Whilst each of the methodologies provides specific process management and improvement tools. On the other hand, BPM:
- provides an overall framework/architecture that can span the whole organisation, providing a visual representation of all business processes and the interactions between people, process, technology, and business rules.
- is both methodology and technology agnostic which allows process managers and process improvers to choose the most suitable management or improvement tool for each circumstance. "I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail." (Abraham Maslow).
A BPM Framework is a management framework with a process-centric approach. A BPM framework may encompass regulations applicable to your industry, policies, sector frameworks and quality standards. There are three main types; Horizontal, Vertical and Full-service. Horizontal frameworks deal with design and development of business processes and are generally focused on technology and reuse. Vertical BPM frameworks focus on a specific set of coordinated tasks and Full-service BPM suites have five components including; Process Discovery & Project Scoping, Process Modeling & Design, Business Rules Engine, Workflow Engine and Simulation & Testing. A process architect can develop a Management Framework for an organisation and also translate these into Management Processes.
An Integrated Management System combines your operational framework; which includes standard operating procedures and work instructions, with your management framework; which will include your necessary regulations, policies and standards along with management processes. It is a system in which all the processes serve the system objectives and where these system objectives have been derived from stakeholder needs and expectations.
A management framework refers to regulations, policies and standards applicable to your industry along with management processes in place in your organisation.
An operational framework refers to your organisation's standard operating procedures and work instructions.
The term 'process-centric' refers to an holistic, BPM approach that centers on business processes themselves, rather than individual elements such as documents, workflow or people. Regulated industries and companies with up to thousands of standard operating procedures often make the mistake of looking at these as individual items or tasks, rather than looking at the processes and relationships between them, within the whole system or organisation. A process-centric procedure takes the system and the relationships into account to create a more streamlined and efficient method for procedures, SOPs and/or repeatable training.
A work instruction is a description of a specific task or activity within a company. These are often described in detail and for some industries, require acknowledgment of receipt.
TPSoP® is an innovative solution for the development of process-centric procedures, on-line procedures and SOPs and results in the creation of a comprehensive, visual and user-friendly environment. The TPSoP® methodology utilises a rigorous and collaborative approach, underpinned by Torque Management's expertise and experience with widely accepted best practices such as Six Sigma, Lean, BPM and ISO. TPSoP® is capable of compliance with regulation and security requirements in all industries and its comprehensive nature ensures elimination of waste and duplication and contributes to an improved culture for your organisation and a more streamlined, cost-effective business.
TPSoP® can be deployed as part of a quality or compliance programme or as a means to deliver instructions or training in a consistent, repeatable manner that allows for changes to be made when necessary. It caters for acknowledgement of receipt of instruction as required by life sciences organisations, on construction sites, in hospital environments, etc. TPSoP® is particularly effective where the audience is geographically dispersed and/or multi-lingual delivery is necessary.
Torque Rapid System™ is a process-led methodology that accelerates the delivery of IT systems projects. Large IT and ERP Projects are expensive, risky, take a considerable amount of time and many even fail to deliver, under-deliver or overrun. Rapid System™ enables us to turn a 3-4 year project, into an 18 month project with higher rates of user adoption and costs reduced by 35-40%.
The BPM CoE (Centre of Excellence) provides the necessary dedicated resources to drive Process Improvement in an organisation. The remit of the CoE will include, at a minimum: BPM strategy, Policies, Standards, Methodologies and Tools; Business Process Architecture, Business Process Portfolio Management; Business Process Training and certification; Business Process Reporting. In some organisations the CoE will also provide compliance and quality support and/or a pool of Business Process Engineers who work as internal consultants to Business Managers undertaking process improvement projects.
QMS is a Quality Management System and refers to a collection of business processes focused on quality. These processes will direct an organisation in ensuring it is continually improving effectiveness and efficiency in all areas that can affect quality standards. Some of the most commonly used ISO standards, are the ISO 9000 category, which focuses on quality management systems and the ISO 14000 category, which addresses environmental management.
Torque Management Limited is a licensed recruitment agency and specialise in recruitment for Business Process Professionals across all industries and sectors. We have previously assisted in selection of professionals for the roles of Business Process Engineers, Quality/Business Analysis, Director of BPM Centre of Competence for companies in the Airmotive, Financial Services and Manufacturing sectors.
The Capability Maturity Model, or CMM, was originally developed as a tool to objectively assess the ability of government contractors' processes to perform a contracted software project. The term 'maturity' relates to the degree of formality and optimisation of processes within an organisation. By assessing the level of process maturity your organisation is running at, and the level you would like it to reach. There are five levels: Initial, Managed, Defined, Quantitatively Managed and Optimising.
SOPs are a critical part of compliance, quality and oftentimes, training. Traditional, text-based SOPs can consist of thousands of documents and frequently fail to demonstrate to the user their specific role and the relationship of the task at hand, to the whole. Other documents, forms or members of staff may be connected to one SOP and sometimes these dynamic elements are unclear and hard to locate or even understand. For organisations with numerous SOPs and especially in regulated industries, overlap occurs, meaning there is waste that can be eliminated when the SOP process is approached in a more systematic and holistic way. Converting traditional text based SOPs to process-centric procedures, allows for this. Torque Management's TPSoP® solution enables you to streamline your organisation's procedures and create user-friendly SOPs in an online, connected, easy to understand environment. TPSoP® offers the tools and techniques to develop SOPs that are easy to deploy, change and re-deploy; making the methodology ideal for companies who wish to better comply with quality standards or compliance and for development of repeatable training that can be used even for a geographically dispersed, multi-lingual audience.
There are many definitions of an SOP but we like this one for its simplicity.
Standard operating procedures (SOP) are a detailed explanation of how a policy is to be implemented.
An effective SOP communicates who will perform the task, what inputs are necessary, where the task will take place, when the task shall be performed, why the task is performed and how the person will execute the task.
The 5 Whys technique is a lean analytical tool that originated in the Toyota Production System and is a widely used technique to explore the nature and cause-and effect relationships of a problem. Using the tool, investigators ask “Why” iteratively and seek supporting empirical evidence until they reach a conclusion as to root cause. For more complex problem analysis, 5 Whys analysis will be used in combination with additional analytical tools.
What is a Learning Organisation?
A learning organisation is one that facilitates the learning of its members in order to continuously improve, innovate and remain competitive.
In a paper entitled 'Teaching Smart People How to Learn', Chris Argyris refers to 'Single Loop' and 'Double Loop' learning, the latter essentially being what happens in the learning organisation.
Argyris uses the analogy of a thermostat; each time the temperature drops below 68 degrees, the heat turns on – this is a single loop. In Double Loop learning, the thermostat would question why it was set to that temperature and whether or not a different temperature might more economically achieve the goal. Double loop learning, incorporated into training, work instructions and SOPs in a process-based manner can allow Users within an organisation to really ‘learn’.
Process-based training ensures that room and time is built into training plans, allowing Trainees to pose questions and identify further improvements; facilitating better learning and creating greater space for innovation and change at all levels of an organisation.
[Sources: Teaching Smart People How to Learn, Theories of action, double-loop learning and organizational learning.]
Online forms – also called electronic forms, smart forms or digital forms, allow information capture online and make it available to business applications. Today, most online forms development applications include some nice features such as branding options, rules for up-front validation of information to ensure correct and complete data entry, forms status reporting (so Users can see who is “sitting” on incomplete forms), automatic routing of forms (so they whizz around to the next person who needs to review / comment/ approve), storage in a database for future analysis and integration with other business applications such as SharePoint.
Any process for converting information into a form that can be handled by a computer.
In 2011, PUMA established an Environmental Profit & Loss Account (E P&L) and were the first company to do so. They notes that operations and supply chain depend on nature for services such as fresh water, clean air, healthy biodiversity and productive land. The PUMA E P&L is the first attempt to measure the immense value of these services to the business, and the true costs of their business’s impacts on nature by placing a monetary value on them along the entire value chain. Read more.
Anyone with an interest in a business or its products and services, such as: Employees, Customers, Suppliers, Business Partners, Neighbours, Government, and Regulators etc.
Digitalisation is the use of digital technologies to change a business model and provide new revenue and value-producing opportunities; it is the process of moving to a digital business. [Source: Gartner IT Glossary.]
Digitisation is the process of moving what you did offline online. [Source: Dave Aron, vice president and Gartner Fellow.]
Further reading (for fun): Tom Davenport – what the heck is digitization anyway?