We’ve all been there—something goes wrong, and the entire process goes with it. Business Process Improvement (BPI) optimizes these processes by taking an organized and systemic approach to solving inefficiency problems before they occur. Not only can BPI minimize bottlenecks and costs, but it can also significantly increase performance through improved design, communication, and reviews. Every business can benefit from BPI, but there are 3 common misconceptions that are stopping some from taking the leap:
1. We don’t have time.
When businesses say they don’t have time for BPI, what they really mean is they don’t have the resources. They believe they have to begin and complete the process quickly and dedicate their full attention to the project at the expense of everyday workloads, thus reducing productivity and efficiency. A complicated and large process requires more time to tackle, but this depends on whether you look at an entire process or a component of the process. Making the process smaller drives results faster.
For example, if we are examining our buying process, we can choose to examine it from vendor presentation through store fulfilment, or choose to focus on reducing bottlenecks in a specific piece, like purchase order management, to improve throughput. Another solution involves using existing resources and extending the timelines. Key employees can offer ideas and expertise without sacrificing their productivity. Extending the timeline decreases the pressure of BPI and provides more time for businesses to identify the bottlenecks and define the best strategy.
2. We can’t afford it.
Many people equate BPI with solutions that require expensive new technology. This is often not the case. Process improvement can be achieved by examining current process assumptions with a target improvement objective in mind. Identifying areas of opportunity and asking “what if” and “how could we” questions can lead to practical improvements that are more innovative than they are costly.
Often, we see that functional areas are working in silos. Removing these barriers and working as a team builds trust and makes the implementation of low cost processes more efficient. In many instances, these solutions save more than the review process cost.
3. It’s impossible to get it right.
The objective of BPI is to continuously improve existing processes. The iterative approach to process improvement means that “getting it right” should not be a consideration. When you started your business, the processes you put in place were ideal your business at the time. What was right 5 years ago may not be right today. As the business evolves, so do the processes used to manage it. BPI jumps start a culture of continuous improvement that keeps a business’ processes relevant for current circumstances. As the Nike ad says: ‘There is no finish line’.
Implementing BPI across your business helps you stay current and continuously improve. As we have shown, there is no such thing as not having enough time, money, or the right strategy. Successful BPI depends on how you manage your resources, your team, and plan for the future.