9 Steps to Redesign a Broken Business Process

    

broken_business_processes.jpgI revel in being recognized for doing great work and good deeds. My position at Advanced Systems as the Document Management Director allows me to relish being recognized for great work almost every day. Oddly enough, it has very little to do with my talents, and a great deal to do with a successful repeatable process.

We fix broken business processes. Fixing a broken business process leads to happier customers and employees, better margins, quicker turnaround times, and more efficiency . . . there’s more, but I’ll stop there. Great processes enable you to meet and then exceed stated business goals.

Processes don’t usually become broken because of poor or employees that don’t care; they often just happen over time. As a business grows and evolves, as new technology is implemented, when customers evolve how they purchase services and materials; if you aren’t paying attention to how these changes affect each other, your processes will become out of date and ineffective.

Businesses must constantly be looking to revisit and improve their business processes.

How do you fix a broken business process?

  1. Identify the broken process. Symptoms of a broken process are: customers are unhappy; some things take too long; tasks aren’t right, or need to be corrected often; customer and/or employee frustration; finger pointing and blaming between departments; lots of checking and reviewing. Look at a situation where customers are unhappy, name the process or department where the symptom is taking place.
  2. Identify the business goal this affects. We need to make sure we are identifying processes that align with business goals. We may find some processes are just unnecessary or aren’t that important to the overall success of the business. If business goals aren’t stated and mutually agreed on, then we need to have a process meeting to identify business goals first. Have that goal identified? Great, now move on to the next seven steps.
  3. Write down what the perfect process and outcome would “look or feel like.” Everyone involved in the process redesign has a mutual agreement of what to work towards.
  4. The broken process is identified. The business goals affected is identified. Now we need to identify the key players, the employees who do the task each day. They are going to be able to identify where the process is breaking down and have an understanding of the overall flow of the process better than anyone.
  5. Understand the principles of a process redesign. The ideas I am sharing are not mine, they are borrowed. There are books (“Improving Business Processes” Pocket Mentor) or a simple Google search for business process reengineering or redesign will give you plenty of material to study. There are also short YouTube videos to instruct you on the process (I’ve embedded one at the end of this post). A few core ideas are: Organize around outcomes not tasks, reduce waiting moving and rework time, reduce checks and reviews, involve as few people as possible in performing the process, eliminate bottlenecks, and standardize the processes.
  6. Map the current business process and identify problems. Get sticky notes and a big wall and go to work. What starts the process? What finishes the process? List all the steps in-between. Examine the process map for steps causing the problems identified in step 1.
  7. Redesign the business process using principles of a process redesign. Consider new design implications, use business process management software (we use Laserfiche), document the new design, and then consider the new design’s implications. It is simple to use sticky notes and Sharpies to draw the process maps. If you want to diagram the new design, the Google app “Lucidchart Diagrams” is easy to use and free for smaller size mapping.
  8. Acquire Needed Resources. It may take some research, or bringing in someone like me, to help understand what products are available and how to obtain the needed resources to help your new business process succeed.
  9. Implement the new Redesigned business process. Be prepared for obstacles, communicate and educate the employees involved, get buy in from employees, and roll the new process out. Revise and update as needed.

There is a great 6 minute YouTube video “4 easy steps to Effective Process Mapping” that easily explains the process mapping and redesign. I’ve embedded it below for your viewing pleasure.

After doing a business redesign broken processes are fixed, business goals are easier to obtain, and the next broken process can be fixed and updated. This is exciting because it is a repeatable process that will work for every broken business process. The best part? I get the credit of doing amazing work for business that choose Advanced Systems, Inc.

Let the revelry commence!

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About The Author

Lane focuses on fixing businesses broken business processes. He is Advanced Systems Document Management Director. What does document management actually look like? Watch this free demo to find  out.