Improving process efficiency via business process workflow analysis

All businesses should involve at least one business process, and how efficient this process gets executed will determine the business’s efficiency. 

The thing is, it’s widespread for these business processes, especially older ones, to be inefficient and cumbersome. When even a single process is inadequate, it can cause a chain reaction of inefficiencies for your whole business, resulting in a waste of time, energy, and resources which is why it requires a workflow analysis. 

business process workflow analysisOne of the most common and effective methods to improve business process inefficiencies is to visualize the business process via business process workflow and perform workflow analysis to find potential bottlenecks and improve areas. 

Here, we will discuss how, but let us begin by discussing business process workflow. 

What is business process workflow?

To answer this question, we have first to define ‘business process’ and ‘workflow.’ 

The two terms are often used interchangeably, so it’s essential first to understand the differences between the two. 

We can define a business process as a collection of associated tasks, of which, when the tasks get completed, will accomplish a specific goal. The goal can be to deliver a service or product, or perhaps a finished marketing campaign, and so on. 

Workflow, on the other hand, refers to the sequences of these tasks. Still, it can also refer to the visualization of these sequences concerning how a business process is being executed. Business process workflow analysis is, as the name suggests, analyzing this visualized workflow to find potential bottlenecks and areas where we can improve their efficiency further. 

Why workflow analysis is important

Visualizing your business process workflow and analyzing it can provide many benefits, but here are the most important ones: 

1. Improving business process efficiency

By mapping the entire business process from start to finish, we can analyze which steps can be automated and improved. Bottlenecks can be eliminated, and it is easy to identify which tasks are redundant/obsolete (i.e., we can replace the paper-based approval process with online proofing). By analyzing each step, we can improve the business process to run more smoothly and produce better results while wasting less time and money

2. Easier time meeting regulations compliance

Another significant benefit of business process workflow analysis is that we can ensure that all steps that are necessary for compliance are properly completed and reported. This can also improve accountability for anyone involved in the business process, so performing an audit will also be more manageable. 

3. More satisfied customers

By ensuring a more effective and efficient business process, workflow analysis will result in more satisfied and happier customers. For instance, we can use workflow analysis to ensure faster delivery for customers and a more seamless way for your customers to contact your support center. When your target audience feels more satisfied, they are more likely to remain loyal to your business and may also help in recommending your product/service to their peers. 

4. Happier employees

A smoother and more efficient business process can also help boost your employees’ morale. Business process workflow analysis can ensure that inefficiencies and bottlenecks (both for front-line workers and management) can be identified. On the other hand, a seamless business process workflow would ensure transparency and accountability for everyone involved in the business process. So it’s also easier for managers to monitor tasks and responsibilities to minimize the risks of errors. In turn, these benefits can help boost the overall workplace morale. 

Steps to improving business process with workflow analysis

Step 1: Using the right tool to visualize your business process workflow

While you can technically use pen and paper to visualize your business process workflow, a proper solution like Aproove can help not only with its easy to use and intuitive Business Process Workflow Builder but also with various tools and features to help optimize your business process like smart scheduling, time tracking, and automation. 

Step 2: Gathering feedback from team members and stakeholders

To properly visualize the business process, it’s essential to ask about the process from those involved in the business process. Give out surveys or conduct interviews with stakeholders to gather as much data as possible for the different tasks involved in the business process and the sequence. 

Step 3: Analyze the process models

Once the business process workflow is properly visualized, we can analyze various factors relevant to the business process: 

  • Why is the process there in the first place? Is it still needed?
  • What’s the desired objective?
  • How are KPIs measured?
  • What resources are in use to perform the process?
  • What are the interactions (internal and external) during the workflow?

Step 3: Look for bottlenecks

By analyzing these factors in the previous step, we can find areas that are not yet efficient and start planning the strategy to optimize them. Bottlenecks could be the systems/resources used in the process, the staff performing the task, or the rules applied, among other factors. 

Step 4: Planning the optimization

Figuring out how the business process can be optimized or modified and the overall costs for the optimization process. 

Conclusion

To properly execute a business process workflow analysis, it’s important to understand how the process occurs. We should focus on the specific tasks that contribute the most to business revenue and figure out how they can be improved. 

Optimizing the business process is mainly about reviewing and analyzing every step within the business process workflow, figuring out inefficiencies and bottlenecks, and finding solutions to eliminate these bottlenecks and improve efficiencies.