Business Process Standardization (BPS): Definition, Benefits & How-to

Business process standardization is the act of establishing a “best-practice” of how to carry out a process & making sure that the entire organization follows it.

Standardization can either be done standalone for its inherent benefits (which we’ll explain in a bit) or as a part of a bigger initiative, such as Business Process Management. BPM is a methodology that maximizes process efficiency through constant re-evaluation and improvement. In most cases, standardization is a pre-requisite of BPM; It’s much easier to analyze and improve one business process rather than five.

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Business Process Standardization Benefits

There are 3 main benefits to standardizing processes.

Higher Productivity & Output – Standardization involves finding the “best” way of doing things and applying it to the rest of the company. By having more efficient processes, you’ll end up with higher productivity across the organization.

Easier Process Improvement – Eventually, you might end up carrying out a business process improvement (BPI) initiative. Standardization is something you’d have to do before you can actually go through with BPI. Instead of optimizing each variation of the process, you’ll end up working on just one (which is the best, anyway).

Easier Onboarding – If you have a standard way of doing things in the company, it’s easier for new employees to pick up the ropes. Otherwise, working in different teams, they’ll have to re-learn some of the process steps.

How To Do Business Process Standardization

Business process standardization is a 2-step process. First, you find what the best way of carrying out the process is.

This means that out all of the ways the process is done, you need to find the one that’s the cheapest, fastest and creates the most value. While it’s rare to find something that does all three, the best process tends to be pretty easy to spot.

Then, you need to ensure that your entire organization is aware of the best practice & actually follows it. This part can be a tad harder unless you employ the right tools…

Business Process Mapping

You can’t just go up to your employees one day and tell them, “this is how you’ll be doing your job from now on. Good luck! Bye!” Chances are, they’re going to revert back to the old way sooner or later.

Business process mapping is the methodology of graphically representing your processes as a “map.” While there are several different ways (value stream mapping, swimlane diagram, etc.) of mapping processes, in case of standardization, you’d want to make a flowchart, specifically. The other types of maps are meant more for business process analysis and improvement.

The most basic way to do mapping is through pen & paper – take a good look at the process & just draw it out. Or, if you want to do it digitally, you could use flowchart software or…

Workflow Application

A workflow application is essentially a process map on steroids.

Rather than have a physical map (or a JPG) handed out to your employees, you can use workflow software to keep the processes running in real-time. You get to design the exact way you’d want the process done online, and the system will enforce it, ensuring that the employees are doing everything the right way.

Other than standardization, workflow management software can also help manage your processes. Without software, you’d have to manually keep in touch with process managers to see how everything is going. The software, however, puts all of your processes in one dashboard, as well as allowing for analytics to determine efficiency.

  Want to start working with a workflow management tool, but not sure which one to pick? Check out our guide on how to pick the best software for your business.

The Next Steps: Business Process Management

Once you’ve standardized all the processes within the company, you might be tempted to call it a day and focus on other things, such as marketing or growth.

Having standardized processes, however, doesn’t mean that each and every one of them is working at peak efficiency. In fact, you might even discover that simply optimizing one of your processes might have a greater effect on your expenses & revenue than focusing on business growth.

Meaning, to ensure that the business is doing as well as it possibly could, it’s important to constantly analyze and re-evaluate your business processes – you never know what you might find.

Have you carried out a process standardization initiative within your organization? How did it go? Are there any other methods you’d add to our list? Let us know in the comments!

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About the author - Amit Kothari

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