- Globalization has brought the need for rethinking of our business processes to counter the increase in competition.
- Business process improvement needs to be backed up by relevant business process management for continual improvement and adjustment to competition within the industry and a change of strategies by competitors.
- Business process change is aimed at ensuring a business develops a competitive advantage by utilizing its core competencies. It is also essential as it ensures collaborative working among different departments within a business.
- Improving a business process is ensured by following a standard plan which ensures that problematic areas in a business are identified, proper measures undertaken to address these problems, proper people identified to implement the process and finally ensure that every employee becomes part of the business process.
- Proper implementation of a relevant business process ensures customer satisfaction and realizes value for the shareholders.
Thesis statement: changing the current business processes will ensure delivery of value and quality to our customers.
Globalization has brought in numerous opportunities for businesses and so goes for challenges. The latter is definitely of more concern as companies seek to remain relevant and satisfy their customers by providing value for that spent by the customers. Unfortunately for most businesses ours included the speed and precision has remained wanting at least compared to how things are fast changing in our industry. This raises great concern as we are at the risk of loosing our market share as customers opt for our competitors who have quickly adapted to the new way of doing things. Any kin observer can tell that our business has yet to change from so called “sellers mentality”. This is of great concern as most companies have changed from the seller’s to a buyer’s market. This puts more emphasis on the customers and as Ashraf (2010) notes they have focused more on price-quality ratio of their products and services for the sake of competitive advantage. This leaves us at a very dangerous position as sooner or later customers will come around and notice the difference in products and services offered here and those offered by our competitors. At this point it will be impossible to achieve any of our set goals as they are all centered around customer satisfaction leading to continual expenditure on our goods and services.
Business process management (BPM)
A kin analysis of our competitors indicates that they have overtime changed how they do things. They have aligned their internal structures to their goals and more importantly they have geared their entire efforts to satisfy the customer. Again to borrow from Ashraf (2010) they have ensured an effective and efficient Business Process Management (BPM) which has helped their basic goal of profit maximization and customer satisfaction. Mainly BPM entails satisfying the right customers with the right products and services by aligning the internal activities and resources with the external requirements (Ashraf, 2010).It ensures that a company achieves efficiency by managing cross-functional activities ensuring that they all work collaboratively to achieve the overall goal of customer satisfaction and delivering value to shareholders. It lays particular emphasis on cost cutting, efficient marketing, customer satisfaction and continual invention (Ashraf, 2010).
Business Process Change
For a company such as ours to have the necessary structures capable of ensuring customer satisfaction and delivering value to shareholders we have to ensure a change in business processes. Business process change is defined by Kettinger and Grover who are quoted by Khosrowpour (2002) as “a strategy driven organizational initiative to improve and redesign business processes to achieve competitive advantage in performance through changes in the relationship between management, information technology, organizational structure and people” (p.37) .At this point it is easy for an individual to question the need for change, it is also not easy for every one to realize the changes that would prompt a reengineering. It is for this reason that we briefly discuss three factors which necessitate a change in how we conduct business. Here we explain the reason for changing business processes.
One is customers, these are the reason we are in business and meeting their needs and specification should be our prime goal. Customers require goods and services designed to meet their predetermined unique needs. These needs continually change and there is need for the business to adapt itself to these changes. It becomes impossible to keep pace with these changes if we do not have collaborative structures. These collaborative structures are the backbone of business process management which was earlier defined this can be considered an end product of a change in business processes.
The other factor is competition, with globalization comes competition. Competition of a much higher level as millions of businesses compete for the very customers we serve. If any business wants to survive then it has to devise ways through which it can withstand competition. One way of doing this is building on a competitive advantage. Ashraf (2010) notes that a competitive advantage is realized when a business links its core competencies with core business processes. In this case we define core competencies as a key business output or process through which an organization is able to act more efficient (Ashraf, 2010). This indicates that it is almost impossible to achieve a competitive advantage without core business processes. Thus in summary a business without core business processes has no place in modern day business.
The last factor is change, change is constant and the rate is accelerated by external factors such as technology. Change affects a business as it requires it to do business in a different way, produce goods in a different way as well as meet the needs of its customers in a different way. Simply change requires continual adaptation. If a business is not in a position to adopt itself to these new ways of doing things then it becomes impossible for it to withstand competition. The likely scenario under these circumstances is a collapse of the business. An analysis of these three factors either solely or together should prompt one to rethink the way they conduct business. In a way it should prompt one to think of redesigning current business processes. In our current business nothing much has changed in the past five years I have been around. This may be the sole reason behind out firms decline in turnover as well as entry of most competitors who seem to have taken over part of our market share. It should concern us all how to get back this business where it was, more importantly we should be able to foster growth and reclaim our market share. The one way we can achieve this is by reviewing the way we do things, the way departments work with each other, the time we take to complete tasks and finally ensuring a motivated workforce by getting rid of employee frustrations and confusing processes which has characterized our current system.
Improving a business process
Harvard Business School has come up with a standard plan on how to improve a business process. The first step is detecting signs of trouble. This requires a keen look at the current business process which allows one to pin point areas which hinder realization of business goals. The second step is selecting areas which need improvement; though one may have detected signs of trouble one needs to come up with actual areas that need improvement. The third step is defining goals to be achieved after the process change. The fourth step is coming up with a team which will oversee the improvement or change of the business process. Finally it is important to get everyone on board to avoid resistance once the new process is functional Harvard Business School (2010).
As noted earlier our current system has several processes which have made it impossible to respond to our customers needs. These as we have explored in the previous part need to be changed and because it may not be possible to change all at the same time it is important then that we prioritize. In this proposal I will focus on one of the processes, ensuring a motivated workforce. We follow the above detailed process.
Detecting signs of trouble
As I mentioned earlier I have been in this company for close to five years. In these five the human resource department has undertaken to ensure that the workforce remains motivated and focused by ensuring an attractive reward system, job rotation and bonding sessions. Irrespective of these initiatives our workforce seems to be performing below par at least compared to similar businesses. This is despite the fact that we have a similar or even better workforce. This underperformance characterized by continual extension of deadlines is the main problematic area. It has resulted to customer dissatisfaction as can be attested by our customer care department and has also left many of my workmates frustrated which has had a bearing in their delivery.
Process that need improvement
In regard to these problems the most critical area to me is ensuring that we avoid frustration among employees and ensure they have a smooth process through which they can exchange ideas and work collaboratively to meet the needs of our customers and ultimately deliver value to our shareholders.
Defining goals for our business process improvement
The main goal of our business process improvement is ensuring that deadlines are met. As it is agreeable these deadlines are founded on bases of customer needs. Extended deadlines mean delayed research and delayed response to market gaps all which have a bearing on our service delivery and product development. The other goal is ensuring that there is minimal frustration on employees by eliminating confusion and redundant processes. The final goal is achieving cohesion among the employees which will ensure a wider pool of ideas and efficiency.
Assembling the business process improvement team
The business process improvement team will ensure that the plan is implemented. They will also be responsible for adjusting the plan where need may arise especially where important recommendations are made. It will be comprised of the existent heads of department, the chief executive officer and two or three employee representatives. These will ensure the views of employees are considered. The CEO will act as a guarantee that the change process has full managerial backing which will be a motivating factor.
Getting everyone on board
This is the final step and a very important one. Since the improvement of the current business process affects the business as a whole then it I almost important that the BPI team ensures that everyone is involved. This will ensure minimal opposition and will guarantee fast implementation of any changes resulting from the process. In our case all employees should be informed and encouraged to come up with ideas on how to address the aforementioned problems. They should also be informed on the reasons for improvement so that they also appreciate the process.
In conclusion, globalization has brought the need for every business to rethink how they conduct their activities. Unlike sometime back customers have now a wide choice and only opt for those activities which meet their needs. One way of ensuring that a business can meet these needs is by adjusting their processes to customer needs. A well structured business process backed by a sound business process management not only ensures that customers are satisfied but also gives the business a competitive advantage. This results from the fact that a collaborative business process identifies the core competence of the business and develops it to become a competitive advantage. This ensures that a business is able to withstand competition and maintain its market share even with entry of competitors in any case this provides the business with a chance to conquer new areas and expand its existent market share. As this proposal seeks to point out the transformation of our business can only happen if we change our existing business process. Though we have only detailed a change inn one process it is important to identify other problematic areas and use the business process improvement plan detailed.