When we talk about the corporate environment, a process is a sequence of routine activities that, when seen together with other processes, make up the way in which the company works. But then, what is process management?
In theory, the answer is simple: it is the approach by which these processes will be mapped, designed, documented, measured, monitored and controlled. All this based on the company’s goals and objectives.
You can already understand that putting this methodology into practice is not an easy task, right?
It is through process management that it is possible to integrate the activities of different areas, teams and systems, optimizing the work of the entire organization.
In times when there is no room for waste, process management becomes one of the fundamental pieces for any company to achieve success. After all, it is only with good management that bottlenecks and opportunities for improvement will be found.
In general, we can identify some main objectives of process management:
– Systematize the routines that involve the day-to-day of the company and assign responsibilities;
– Organize processes aiming at clear results (and not specific tasks);
– Improve the relationship and communication between members and areas of the organization;
– Through standardization, facilitate the planning, monitoring and control of what happens in the environment;
– Identify possibilities for process optimization through bottlenecks found;
– Focus on improving existing processes rather than creating a new model;
– Correct processes before automating them, so as not to speed up what is disorganized.
That is, process management fulfills many roles within a company. It is the first step towards “organizing the house” and understanding how things work internally. It is through it that managers will understand how to make better use of available resources and what actions need to be taken to optimize the workflow and adapt the organization to the new realities of the market.
There are different methodologies to organize the phases of BPM (Business Process Management, or simply Business Process Management). However, in general, it is possible to divide this cycle into six stages:
The first step is to plan how process management will be carried out. It is at this stage that there is a general check of what the main problems are and the best ways to solve them.
It is also at this moment that the performance indicators that will be used are identified and all the existing documentation for the analysis of processes is collected.
It is at this stage that, in general, the company is mapped. Thus, it is necessary to observe exactly how each process happens in the business today. In this way, the processes are raised and described by the set of activities that compose them.
To carry out this mapping, it is necessary to really know how the company works. Only then will the manager have a clearer notion of which are the points that can be improved in the operation.
Still at this stage, we already have to raise:
– Understanding the business with the main processes that compose it
– The strategy with goals and indicators
– An overview of the processes
– Inputs and outputs, including customers and suppliers
– Responsibilities of different areas and teams
– Assessment of available resources
After the value chain has been designed, where the company’s main processes are specified, it’s time to finally get down to business. At this stage, interviews and other types of surveys are carried out to put on paper the current process flows. The process design is the materialization of what was done in the previous step. This is done using the AS-IS methodology (more on types of process mapping later on) and following the modeling notation and tools chosen in the previous steps. Once the bottlenecks and process failures have already been identified, it is time to design a new process flow, always in line with the company’s objectives. For this, simulations (or prototyping) are made based on different scenarios, including improvements. First, quantitative results of the processes are stipulated. Then, using a simulation tool, you can test the process and see if it runs as expected or if there is a bottleneck. When the behavior is according to plan, then it is possible to proceed to the execution stage and put everything into practice.
Before institutionalizing the changes, it is important to think about the resources needed for this: tools, software acquisition, team relocation, changes in the organization’s layout, among other modifications.
The implementation of new strategies is divided into two aspects: systemic implementation, when software is used for this, and non-systemic implementation, which does not have such tools.
It is important that this execution is seen as something positive, which will help the company to better structure its processes, and not something that will disrupt the work cycle.
New processes must be constantly monitored through previously defined performance indicators.
In general, some of the metrics that must be included in each process are duration time, cost, capacity (how much each process actually produces) and quality (measured with its own indicators that vary from process to process).
It is at this stage that continuous process improvement occurs. Analyzing the indicators from the previous step, it is possible to identify whether the objectives are being achieved and what are the main bottlenecks in the entire process.
Improvements can be related to the inclusion or exclusion of activities, new support tools, reallocation of responsibilities, different documentation and sequences, etc.
The focus should be on improving performance to reduce costs, increase efficiency, improve the quality of the final product/service and improve customer relationships.
It is worth noting that this entire process is a cycle: once this phase is over, we go back to analyzing the situation in the business, verifying that the processes are aligned with the company’s objective, designing new situations in view of the identified improvements, executing the changes, monitoring and optimizing!
The survey and documentation of the current situation of the processes is called “As-Is”. It is done by users who are directly involved in key processes. Interviews are carried out with these people who will report on how the process is carried out and what are the main opportunities for improvement.
Then I effect the “To-Be” mapping, which defines where we want to go and the changes that will be implemented for it. Here, it is important to document improvements and expected gains in a quantitative way, in addition to defining resources, tools and responsibilities for each activity.
People who are able to contribute to the optimization of processes, who understand the best practices and who know the organization’s objectives must participate in this mapping.
It is the simplified design of a process using already standardized symbols. It is a very simple way to visually represent the chain of activities involved in the operation.
Due to its simplicity, over time it was gradually replaced by more complex forms of mapping.
For a better representation of the processes, the horizontal flowchart was created, which manages to give more possibilities to the manager.
The task flow is detailed in a matrix, whose horizontal axis indicates which processes are in progress and the vertical axis shows the production stages or those responsible for each process.
Thus, it is possible to have a slightly clearer view of the process flowchart.
This is one of the most useful types of mappings for those who work with production lines, for example.
Basically, it’s the junction of a flowchart within an industrial layout. Thus, the flowchart is represented superimposed on the drawing of the plant. This facilitates visualization, especially to understand how materials and people move.
It is the most used and recognized type of process modeling, including special rules.
As the symbols are standardized – with pre-defined colors and shapes, it is much easier to represent and understand a complex process, just having knowledge about its notation.
Being a “universal language”, it is also possible to present the flow to customers and allow new members to make changes and add value to the processes.
There is no point in implementing a large structure in the management of processes if there is no monitoring of these changes through reliable indicators.
In process management, indicators have the function of identifying areas for improvement, assessing whether the expected objectives are being met and speeding up decision-making to increase efficiency.
It is important to differentiate the concept of “metrics” and “indicators”. Metrics are the raw, numerical data that can be quantified. On the other hand, performance indicators (KPIs) are strategic information that show whether objectives are being met as planned.
For example, customer satisfaction is an indicator. The number of complaints is one of the metrics that helps to understand this indicator.
The types of performance indicators in process management can be divided into:
– Efficiency Indicators
– Quality Indicators
– Capacity Indicators
– Productivity Indicators
– Profitability Indicators
– Profitability Indicators
– Competitiveness Indicators
– Effectiveness Indicators
– Value Indicators
To carry out all this control and management of processes, there are software that automate much of this work. BPM Software (BPMS) is often highly customizable, charting processes with graphics and creating a workflow.
However, for process management to become more complete, an indoor geolocation system such as Novidá’s is highly recommended. Through it, you can track assets, equipment and people within the work environment.
By analyzing the movement of these resources, it is possible to identify bottlenecks and find possibilities for optimization, such as the relocation of the team, restructuring of the production line and improvement of internal logistics.
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