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Process Management: What is it and how to apply it?

What is process management?

When we talk about the corporate environment, a process is a sequence of routine activities that, when seen in conjunction with other processes, make up the way in which the company works. But, what is process management?

In theory, the answer is simple: The approach by which these processes will be map, design, document, measure, control and monitor. All of this based on the objectives and goals of the company.

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 parts for any company to achieve success. After all, it is only with good management that bottlenecks and opportunities for improvement will be found.

 

Objectives of process management

In general, we can identify some main purposes of process management:

– Systematize the routines that involve the company’s day-to-day and assign responsibilities;

– Organize the 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 instead of creating a new model;

– Correct the processes before automating them, so as not to accelerate what is unorganized.

 

Process management steps

There are different methodologies to organize what are 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:

 

Planning

The first step is to plan how the process management will be carry out. It is at this stage that there is a general check of what are the main problem and the best ways to solve them.

It is also at that moment that the performance indicators that will be used are identified and all the existing documentation for process analysis is collected.

 

Process analysis

It is at this stage that, in general, the company’s processes are mapped. Thus, it is necessary to observe exactly how each process in the business happens today. In this way, the processes are raised and described by the set of activities that composes it.

To carry out this mapping, it is necessary to really know how the company works. Only then will the manager have a clearer idea of ​​what are the points that can be improved in the operation.

Still at this stage, we have to raise:

– Understanding the business with the main processes that make it up

– 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

 

Design and Simulations

After designing the value chain, where the company’s main processes are specified, it is time to finally get your hands dirty. In this stage, interviews and other types of surveys are carried out to put the current process flows on paper.

The process design is the materialization of what was done in the previous step. Using the AS-IS methodology (we will talk about process mapping types later) and following the modeling notation and tools chosen in the previous steps.

Once process bottlenecks and failures have been identified, it is time to design a new process flow, always in line with the company’s objectives. For that, simulations (or prototyping) are carried out based on different scenarios, including improvements.

First, quantitative results of the processes are stipulated. Then it is possible to test the process and check if it was execute as planned or if there are any bottlenecks, using a simulation tool.

When the behavior is according to plan, then it is possible to proceed to the execution stage and put everything into practice.

 

Execution

Before institutionalizing the changes, it is important to think about the necessary resources for this: tools, software acquisition, team relocation, changes in the organization’s layout, among other modifications.

The implementation of the new strategies are divide into two aspects: systemic implementation, when software is used for this and non-systemic implementation, which does not have tools of this type.

It is important that this execution be seen as something positive, that will help the company to better structure its processes, and not something that will hinder the work cycle.

 

Monitoring

The new processes must be monitored constantly through the performance indicators previously defined.

In general, some of the metrics that must be included in each process are duration, cost, capacity (how much each process actually produces) and quality (measured with specific indicators that vary from process to process).

 

Improvements and Optimizations

It is at this stage that continuous process improvement occurs. Analyze the indicators from the previous steps; it is possible to identify whether the objectives are achieved and what are the main bottlenecks in the entire process.

The improvements could be relate to the inclusion or exclusion of activities, new support tools, reallocation of responsibilities, documentation and different sequences, etc.

The focus should be on improving performance to reduce costs, increase efficiency, improve the quality of the final product / service and improve the relationship with the customer.

It is worth noting that this whole process is a cycle: once this phase is over, we are back to analyzing the situation in the business, checking if the processes are aligned with the company’s objective, designing new situations in the face of the identified improvements, executing the changes, monitoring and optimizing!

 

Process Mapping

Model AS-IS / TO-BE

The survey and documentation of the status-quo of the processes is called “As-Is”. It is done by users who are directly involved in the key processes. Interviews with these people who will report how the process is done today, and what are the main opportunities for improvement.

Then the “To-Be” mapping effect was define, which defines where we want to go and the changes that we will implement for that. Here, it is important to document improvements and expected gains quantitatively, 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 objectives of the organization must participate in this mapping.

 

Mapping types

Process flowchart: 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, more complex forms of mapping gradually replaced it.

Fluxograma de Processo

Process Flow Example

 

 

Horizontal flowchart: For a better representation of the processes, a horizontal flowchart was created, which is able 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 steps or those responsible for each process.

Thus, it is possible to have a slightly clearer view in relation to the process flowchart.

 

Fluxograma Horizontal

Horizontal Flowchart Example

 

Flow chart map: This is one of the most useful types of mapping for those working with production lines, for example.

It is the joining of a flowchart within an industrial layout. Thus, the flowchart represents superimposed on the plan drawing. This turns visualization easy, especially to understand how materials and people move.

 

Mapofluxograma

Example of flow chart map.

 

BPMN: It is the most used and recognized type of process modeling, even with special standards.

As the symbols are standardize – with pre-defined colors and shapes, it is much easier to represent and understand a complex process, just be aware of 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.

 

BPMN

BPMN example

 

Performance Indicators in Process Management

There is no point in implementing a great structure in the management of processes if these changes are not monitor through reliable indicators.

In process management, the indicators have the function of identifying the points for improvement, assessing whether the expected objectives are being meet 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 quantified. The performance indicators (KPIs) are strategic information that shows whether the objectives are 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 divide into:

– Efficiency Indicators

– Quality Indicators

– Capacity Indicators

– Productivity Indicators

– Profitability Indicators

– Competitiveness Indicators

– Effectiveness Indicators

– Value Indicators

 

Process Management Software

To carry out all this control and process management, there are software that automate much of this work. BPM software (BPMS) are generally highly customizable, map processes with graphics and create a workflow.

However, for process management to be more complete, an indoor geolocation system such as that of Novidá is highly recommended. Through it, you can track assets, equipment and people within the work environment.

Analyzing time and motion of these resources, it is possible to identify bottlenecks and find possibilities for optimizations, such as relocating the team, restructuring the production line and improving internal transport.

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