Business process design (BPD) is the act of creating a new process or workflow from scratch. It’s different from business process redesign, which as the name implies, means taking an already existing process and improving it.
But before we dive into that, talk processes.
A business process is a building block of any kind of business. By definition, it’s a series of repeatable steps that are critical for achieving some sort of a business goal. The key word here is repeatable – it’s something your business does on a regular basis.
The more efficient your processes, the better your business will perform.
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How To Do Business Process Design
In most cases, business process design is done when you’re still starting out your business and need to define how you’ll be doing certain things, as well as what the procedures are.
Most businesses tend to do this implicitly. They don’t actually do business process design. Meaning, they don’t graph it out, structure it, analyze it. Rather, for them, the process is something they’re used to doing.
A structured approach, on the other hand, means having your process mapped out and optimized for efficiency.
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To make this even simpler, let’s say the “business process” in question is the act of making breakfast. You could do it according to memory, or you could have a process map with the exact steps:
In the first case, while you’re probably not going to mess up making breakfast too much, chances are, you might miss a step or two, or do something in the wrong order. Worst case scenario, you end up ruining the meal or making it not as tasty as it could be.
With a designed “business process”, though, you know the exact steps on how to cook the dish the right way. This, essentially, translates into the business world exactly the same way. The added benefit is that you can use the process map to establish a best practice within the company. Meaning, hand out the copies of the map to your employees and ensure that everyone who’s involved in the process is doing it right.
Let’s say you have this new business goal. Implicit would mean you starting to work on the process and figuring out what you need to do step by step. Let’s say, you’ve got a new client. First things first, you’d probably need all the legalities out of the way, right? So you’d look up what types of docs you’d have to make them sign. Then, you’d probably set up a meeting, and so on.
While this does, technically, work, it’s just not nearly as efficient. With an implicit process, you’re going to lose out on…
- Structure & Consistency. If you work in a big organization, you’ll probably have different employees working on the same process. If no one knows what the “right” way of carrying out a process is, their work (and results) will be very inconsistent.
- Lower Output & Productivity. By designing the process to be the most efficient it can be, your employees will end up spending less time on it. As a result, they’ll have more time to do work that really matters.
With a structured approach, on the other hand, you’ll start with the research first and actually map out the process step by step. This way tends to be more efficient since you know the exact tasks you need to carry out and in what order. It’s also essential if you’re working with clients. A structured process makes you seem more professional and “in charge,” since you’ll be aware of what to do and say during each interaction with the client.
The best way to design business processes is through something called Business Process Mapping. Meaning, coming up with your new processes and documenting them.
While you could, in theory, just come up with new processes in your head and leave it at that, why not make it easy for yourself?
Other than business process design, you could also use mapping to work with existing processes. It can help clarify how, exactly, the processes work, as well as find new ways to improve them.
There are 3 different ways to do mapping…
Pen & Paper – The simplest solution is, of course, to just grab a pen, paper and draw a flowchart of the process.
Flowchart Software – Since most businesses are now digital, you’d probably want your process map online. This makes it easier to store, send to employees, etc.
Business Process Management (BPM) Software – Pretty much the same functionality in terms of mapping as any graphing software. This, however, has an added benefit that it can also be used to manage the business processes. You can assign responsibilities, deadlines, and get analytics on how to improve the process.
With the right tools, business process design is as easy as it sounds. All you have to do is map out the right steps and responsibilities.
The Next Steps: BPI & BPM
While having your processes in place has its own benefits, the best practice is to continuously improve on them.
For that, you can use either BPI or BPM…
Business Process Improvement (BPI) – Once you have your process designed, you might identify some possible ways to improve it. Maybe there’s a step or two that’s just a waste of resources or time? Or, if there’s something that can be automated with technology? That might mean that you should start a business process improvement initiative. The gist of it is, you’ll want to create an internal team of experts, with whom you’ll find inefficiencies within the process and come up with ways to improve it.
Business Process Management (BPM) – Even if all your processes are running at peak efficiency, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be anything to improve on or change sometime down the line. Emerging technologies might even completely change the way the process is done! BPM is a methodology for continuous improvement. Meaning, rather than running a BPI initiative or two and calling it a day, you’ll adopt a company culture that’s aimed at constantly looking for and carrying out process improvements.
Now that you know how process design works, it’s time to put that into practice. Knowing the principles of process design & improvement is good; actually using it to improve your business is even better. So, why don’t you give it a quick start with the Tallyfy’s very own BPM software? It’s free for up to 5 users!