To analyze the workload of performers and reduce their number some companies start to analyze business processes and document their total description. How is this process held and what are its benefits and disadvantages?
There are many types of company leaders. Some of them like to hire too many employees. Some people think that they can manage a large company alone. And some are not even familiar with the chief revenue officer job description for example and think that they can cope with everything without the assistance of professionals. In all these cases, it is worth considering in detail what a total description of business processes is and if it is possible to apply to your own company.
A total description of the company’s business processes includes four main steps:
- description of all processes of the company “as is”;
- their analysis;
- description of all processes of the company “to be”;
- implementation of changes, including the transformation of the organizational structure and staff reduction.
If a company needs a clear rationale for optimization, then analysis of actually performed processes is indispensable. However, personal experience of participating in such projects indicates their insufficient effectiveness. The problem is that the stage of describing the processes “as is” takes a very long time. Then the analysis of work operations and the rationale for changes begins, and for many more months they draw models “to be”. During this time, the processes have time to change.
A more correct approach seems to be when the business process architecture is first created, and then the description, analysis, and optimization of operations are performed, and sequentially – from the most important to the least significant. For each process, the practical effect of optimization must be achieved.
For a total description of the company’s business processes, it is necessary:
- to convince the top management team of the need for change and find leaders;
- to develop the architecture of the company’s processes;
- to create the necessary competencies for the project team;
- to perform a description, analysis, and optimization of processes, including the development of “to be” models, analysis of the workload of performers, calculation of changes in the number of employees, and elimination of unnecessary positions;
- to develop a promising organizational structure and staffing;
- to carry out organizational changes, including organizational structure and staffing.
Process architecture requires a team of experts whose members can take a fresh look at the business and build a model based on a vision of forward-looking value chains. At the same time, the emphasis should be on end-to-end processes and the efficiency of managing the invested capital of owners throughout the life cycle of the company’s products.
To describe the processes, small working groups of two or three people + experts (heads of departments) are created. External consultants can provide methodological support, coordination, and quality control. Weekly, the work groups report on the work done – they present process diagrams, the results of process analysis, and proposals for improvement.
At the process description stage, it is advisable to use an approach that combines the development of “as is” and “to be” models into a single group of works that are performed by the work group within a short period (several weeks):
- process models are formed “as is”, the current state of work operations is fixed (number of starts, execution time, list of problems);
- problems are analyzed and their causes are identified;
- analyzes and develops/adjusts labor intensity norms for performing operations;
- proposals for process optimization are developed and discussed;
- schemes of optimized processes are formed (“to be”).
During the description and analysis, it is important to actively involve managers in the search for possible improvements. It is advisable to involve specialists in lean manufacturing, the theory of inventive problem solving, and experts in digitalization in the team.
Optimized process models make it possible to perform the necessary calculations and answer the question of how long it takes to complete operations in general. Then, for each performer, identify his planned loading time in processes, taking into account the standards for the duration of each action and the average number of operations performed during the month. If it turns out that this time is significantly less than the working time fund, then the contractor can be reduced. It is also necessary to consider the possibility of excluding positions from the organizational structure of the company.
The advantages include:
- significant economic effect for business;
- preparation of the company’s personnel for the necessary changes (including innovative ones);
- reduction in the number of employees and the transformation of the organizational structure, based on the results of the analysis of processes and a clear calculation methodology;
- creation of architecture and process model of the company, which is used to optimize, standardize and automate processes;
- development of process management culture.
But advantages will be – high complexity and duration; the risk of obtaining a calculation error; lack of reliable data and adequate standards.
In general, if the project is supported by a team of top managers and there are leaders among them, the pros significantly outweigh the cons. The project is complex and rather expensive, but for large companies that are faced with the task of surviving, it can have a significant effect.