Wednesday, May 4, 2016
It’s Never Too Late for a Business Process Review
Written by Allan Ward
An ERP implementation in and of itself can be an extremely difficult and intimidating process (more on making yours successful here), one that often leaves teams exhausted as they sprint for the finish line. The overall impact on your business and employees is often not anticipated upfront and therefore your employees can lose focus on the business needs and why you bought the ERP software to begin with. Your ERP system is one of the most important parts of your business and not aligning that system with your business can be catastrophic and costly. So what should you do?
Ideally, you’d kick off your project with a Business Process Review. By ‘kick off’, I mean that you’d do this before you even began looking at systems. A Business Process Review (BPR) is when you audit every process that touches your ERP system (or will touch a new system) to ensure it’s the right process executed by the right people with the right results. Going through a BPR ahead of time will allow you to ask better questions of potential vendors during the selection cycle as well as get your vendor to better understand your business.
If you can’t do a BPR ahead of selection, the next best option is to do one before your implementation begins. All the same reasons outlined above come into play in this scenario: you’ll know what you need, you’ll know what you can omit, and you’ll be able to ask the right questions during your project.
Unfortunately, BPRs tend to be overlooked at these earlier junctures—and with good reason. They’re time-consuming, usually fall outside of normal duties and business needs, and one central person doesn’t usually know all the information. If you fall into this bucket, know that you’re not alone. And that it’s not too late.
Here’s what to do if you’re post-implementation and never completed a Business Process Review:
- Get the right people together.
This usually includes functional representatives from each of the business areas subject to the Business Process Review. The most important person to include is Supply Chain Manager. The your Supply Chain Manager who has a tremendous impact on the success of the organization. They are and should be engaged in every facet of the Business Process Review – Planning, Purchasing, Production, Transportation, Storage & Distribution, Customer Service, and more. In short, the Supply Chain Manager is the “glue” that connects the different parts of the organization and their input during the Business Process Review is crucial!
- Take the time to prepare for your Business Process Review.
This usually includes identifying all the critical areas to be included in your Business Process Review and then assigning one person to be in charge of ensuring the Business Process Review gets done and you receive executive buy-in that this is a critical project for the company. Getting and sustaining buy-in is essential to the success of a BPR.
- Don’t forget to document.
If you don’t have a set guide in place already, document how processes are reviewed/changed/communicated and use this plan for any changes you need to implement. If you do have a guide in place already, now is the ideal time to validate if it needs to change. Don’t forget to add a footer stating when you made your most current revision and when it should be revisited.
- Make a commitment to repeat this process at a regular interval.
Keep a check-list of which processes have been reviewed and set recurring calendar invites to check in with them and their stakeholders. A BPR is not a one-time project. With regular check-ins and updates, you’ll have less work to do at each review, get more efficient at reviewing your business processes, and be able to make better business decisions.
Ultimately, it’s always a good idea to take the time for a BPR. If you need help, please contact the Luxent consulting team. We’ve guided many companies in their Business Process Reviews and are able to help organizations and teams efficiently analyze and fine-tune their processes.