Business process management, or BPM, is often an overlooked priority when it comes to evaluating the efficiency and reducing costs. But for better or for worse, BPM is a critical step in improving business efficiency.
So when do you engage in a BPM? When do you undertake this critical step towards process and business efficiency? Today, we’re going to look at the 4 main drivers and triggers to watch out for when you are considering a BPM, so you can decide if it is the right time.
1. Do you think there are inefficiencies in your processes?
The first sign it's time for BPM is if you can find inefficiencies in your process in your business data. This is usually a matter of looking at KPIs specific to your business (production costs, production cycles, sales cycles, overall product/service quality) or of looking at the time it takes to move a project through a process, drilling into how long it spends at each stage.
For instance, say you are a sales driven organization. How long are leads spending in your system before a sales rep talks to them, or how long is your average sales cycle?
Most processes will have these sorts of metrics, and understanding where your time is going in a specific process is a good way to decide if there are inefficiencies that you can improve.
2. Are you business objectives not being met?
Businesses are always growing. No one ever says “I think I would like my business to shrink this year.”
But if this starts to happen, then business process management might be able to help.
Business process management can be brought in to help link organizational strategy, performance, and people to clear measurement and metrics.
This helps you get a better picture of where you are, where you are going, and where you might be going wrong.
3. Are you reaching market saturation?
Dominating a single market is great… until that market is saturated and it starts to stifle growth. When this happens, there are really only two options to continue to grow the business:
Both of these are time-consuming and can be very expensive propositions.
In the meantime, business process improvements can help you find better margins in the markets you have already saturated by optimizing processes to get more work done faster and ultimately reduce the cost of delivering your product/service to customers.
4. Are you expanding your business to new geographies?
Expanding a business into new territory is a significant undertaking. If you are a sales-driven organization, this will likely mean adding travelling or satellite salespeople outside your normal bounds of control and process.
If you are a services organization, it might mean opening a new office, where new systems and protocols will first emerge organically and later have to be managed in line with existing structures.
Finally, if you are a product company, it means you will have to establish new supply chains, logistics networks, stores, partnerships, and more to keep stock flowing.
What these three things have in common is that authority and process become decentralized. It is challenging to manage a satellite sales office. Frankly, the head office isn’t there to have those conversations. The answer is robust processes that are fast, efficient, and make sense to the people who use them. Once you expand your organization, the culture of a head office isn’t enough to keep bad processes ticking along. They need to make sense to the people who use them if you want various ways of working to be used.
Moreover, that means reviewing both formal and informal business processes to see what works, what doesn’t, and get a better understanding of what’s going to scale (or not).
Business process management is one of those activities that always seem to get pushed as more pressing matters crop up for resource allocation. However, there are some situations where it just can’t be forced anymore.
Uncovering inefficiencies in your processes, regularly failing to meet business objectives, completely saturating the market, or undertaking major business expansions are all events that should trigger a BPM review.
By reviewing your process, you can streamline how you do business, optimize your systems to fuel your bottom line, and create the infrastructure and processes you need to scale your business to new heights truly.