Pick some processes and monitor them.
Choose any of your business processes and represent them in a diagram, including all possible details: tasks, managers, times, resources used, etc. The most widely used methodology for the representation of processes is the BPMN (Business Process Model and Notation), which in Spanish we say Business Process Model and Notation.
Analyze the diagrams that you have represented, prior to the execution of the processes. Check first that they are a faithful representation of your processes, that there is nothing wrong. Then analyze if the sequence of tasks in front of you makes sense, for example, check if there are any tasks that are repeated in different parts of the process.
Finally, make the execution of your processes visible. For this, there are tools on the market that allow you to see the processes in real time: what task is running, what tasks have been executed and how long they have taken to do it, etc. If you don’t have that option, you can simply write down the fundamental metrics (KPIs) in the BPMN diagrams.
Include customers and suppliers in your processes, so that visibility is complete.
Many times we forget that a part of our processes is not executed directly by us, that is, our company, but is executed by third parties, mainly our suppliers and our clients.
Suppliers are an important link in our production chain, that is why we must include them in the BPMN diagrams that represent our processes, making an effort to also represent their metrics, especially the duration times of the tasks that they execute. Otherwise we will not be able to measure well or adequately estimate the delivery times of a product, for example.
Our clients are another important part of our processes, perhaps the most important. The delivery of a product is the culmination of the sales process and we must take great care of it. That is why we must include the circumstances of the delivery in our processes, such as the location and schedules. Sometimes our products are even delivered by an external carrier to our company and we must also include this information in our diagrams.
Detect bottlenecks, they are the best place to start.
To carry out incremental process improvement, you start with bottlenecks, the points where “bottlenecks” occur or can occur. In fact, it is proven that the performance of a bottleneck is the performance of the entire process, since it cannot go faster than its slowest component.
To do this, during the process monitoring phase, we must obtain the statistical parameters of the execution and subsequently analyze them. Some of the points to pay special attention to are the following:
- Less flexible areas, where it is not easy to manage a sudden increase in workload.
- The most complex points of the process, for example the tasks that combine manual and automatic operation.
- The tasks of manual execution, since the variation of the workload must be associated with a variation of the personnel associated with said task, in the shortest possible time.
- The critical tasks in terms of the seriousness of the consequences of a possible failure in the execution of said tasks.