Hopefully I wouldn’t be missed

Hopefully I wouldn’t be missed

Perish the thought…but what would happen if I left the office tonight and never came back?

The answer (I hope) would be nothing.

Of course I’d like to think there’d be a lot of wailing and wringing of hands by distraught colleagues, but on a professional level absolutely nothing would change.

Why? Because, like my colleagues, I follow a business process management (BPM) model – which, I know, sounds really, really dull but, believe me, ensures things happen exactly as they should.

If I was ever tempted to disappear for a few months, I know my colleagues would simply be able to pick up where I left off. I know this because I’ve left them with the tools to do the job, enshrined in a process – covering my role –  that’s both up-to-date and easy to follow.

A process (I know – a word that can be a real turn off) is simply a collection of interrelated work tasks initiated in response to an event that achieves a specific result.

But if that process isn’t achieving the desired result, or isn’t working as well as it should, what happens then?

Follow the right map

Your business will have certain goals – and business process management is a defined set of steps – a road map – that you’ll take to achieve those goals. If the process isn’t fit for purpose, then that road map would be confusing to say the least and could well see you heading off in the wrong direction – and away from your target.

‘Ownership’ is a key feature of BPM. Various processes need to be owned by individuals who are responsible for updating and optimising them. In almost every case the best people to do this are those responsible for carrying out the actual tasks themselves. For example, the HR team takes care of the HR processes and the marketing team looks after the marketing processes.

It’s important to remember though that this isn’t just a one-off thing. You don’t just create a process, put it down and say ‘that’s it!’ Business process management has to evolve – and has to constantly challenge and question the way things are at the moment.

It’s there to make sure we can always ask ourselves whether a particular way of doing things is still the best way of doing things. Organisations and businesses are always changing so BPM has to change too. If not, a process can soon become outdated.

Sound business procedures that are well-embedded within a company, can save a lot of time and money. If hundreds of people run a bad process hundreds of times a year, well you don’t need me to tell you how that could impact on the bottom line!

Don’t keep it to yourself!

It’s important to remember however, that the big danger with BPM is complacency, especially if you’re managing processes just for yourself. Referring back to my surprise (and entirely fictional) disappearance at the top of this blog – I could have been tempted to ignore the fact that old processes need updating. I might have thought that because I knew what was involved, it didn’t matter whether I updated it or not.

Big mistake. Just because I might have known, it didn’t mean that anyone else would. My complacency could then have caused real problems.

It’s why I never keep my processes hidden – regularly asking colleagues to use them, offer their feedback and apply updates.

Help is at hand

There’s also plenty of help available from outside your organisation if you need it. Here at Direct Sourcing Solutions, we can help with many of the operations and responsibilities relating to specific business processes.

There are also plenty of tools out there to help which can make life so much easier when it comes to optimising business processes that will save your organisation both time and money.

But lastly, we probably all need to remind ourselves that no process can ever be perfect. The secret though, is to always try and get as close as possible to perfection whenever we can.

It will always be a work in progress. Regular testing, obtaining feedback, implementing, and re-testing is what it’s all about.

Leon Gunning is Chief of Operations at Direct Sourcing Solutions.

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