The task of business process redesign typically has the goal of taking something that has worked well in the past and making changes that update and renew that process for today’s circumstances. While there are a number of different strategies for determining and implementing this type of reworking of existing processes, most approaches will require three basic phases in order to identify the right changes and design an effective plan: evaluation, projection, and implementation.
During the evaluation stage, the focus is on understanding why the current process was ever implemented and how well that process has met goals in the past. Taking the time to do this bit of business process mapping makes it possible to identify which underlying reasons for the process are still relevant today, and which reasons are no longer valid. By knowing which aspects of the process are no longer necessary, it is easier to decide what can be stripped away and what needs to remain as part of the process. As a result, the foundation or core of the business process redesign is now in place, and ready to be augmented with new elements that effectively brings that process up to date.
Once the basics are segregated from what has become dead weight, the next phase in business process redesign calls for projecting the future utilization of that process. Here, the idea is to consider each possible addition to the process and how it will impact other processes already in place throughout the operation. The idea is to makes changes that at best do not create problems with other processes. Hopefully, the changes that occur during the redesign will go beyond merely increasing the efficiency of that one process and aid in increasing productivity and efficiency in other areas of the operation. By carefully grafting in each proposed new element, then running simulations to determine how that element would affect subsequent activity within the operation, it is possible to eventually create a retooled process that is to the benefit of everyone involved.
Even the best business process redesign will fail if the implementation phase is not carried out in a manner that is in harmony with the corporate culture. In some cases, that culture may allow for a quick cut over from the old process to the revamped process, possibly ending use of the former on a Friday and launching the latter the following Monday. If this type of implementation is not a good fit for the culture, working with those directly affected by the changes for a defined period of time may be the best approach. Taking the time to retrain key personnel in how to manage the new process to best advantage may require the investment of time and money on the front end, but it can prevent a great deal of trial, error, and waste on the back end.
Keep in mind that even a business process redesign that has been carefully crafted may need some tweaking once it is implemented. Once those who actually work with the process have a chance to utilize the revamped approach for a short period of time, they will likely have valuable feedback that can make it easier to fine-tune the process, making it more efficient and relevant to the business enterprise. Taking the time to consider that feedback and identifying ways to slightly alter the process can often have the effect of motivating employees to own the process and take pride in making the best possible use of that process as they go about their assigned tasks.